WOTM: Nancy Reagen

“Life can be great, but not when you can't see it. So, open your eyes to life: to see it in the vivid colours that God gave us as a precious gift to His children, to enjoy life to the fullest, and to make it count. Say yes to your life.” - Nancy Reagen

Enduring love, dedication, elegance, wisdom and optimism are apt words to describe this issue’s Woman of The Month. In celebration of this month being a month of Breast Cancer Awareness, this issue’s Woman of The Month also assembles a fighter, a warrior for women. She is non other than the ever-inspiring Nancy Reagen. 

On the 6th of July 1921, Nancy Reagen (then named Anne Frances Robbins) was born in New York to a salesman and an aspiring actress. As an infant, her mother would call her by the nickname ‘Nancy’ and it’s stuck to her ever since. Being an only child, Reagen felt responsible and overwhelmed by her parents’ divorce. After the split, Reagen’s mother sent her to live with her aunt and uncle in Virginia. Nancy would sometimes recall longing for her mother during those years. Luckily for her, Nancy’s mother had gotten married to a man with the name Loyal Davis not long after and Nancy was once again reunited with her. Loyal had later on adopted her, and her name was legally changed to Nancy Davis.

In her new home, Reagen was exposed to a more affluent upbringing, filled with wealth and privilege. Reagen attended the Girls’ Latin School of Chicago where she excelled in her studies and would recall being where she began to explore herself and her many talents. Nancy Reagen had an interest in Drama and the English language. Therefore, when she graduated 1939, Reagen decided to major in drama and English at the Smith College in Massachusetts. Nancy Reagen always had a passion for learning and a never ending drive for it. Not just through majors, textbooks and lectures but through the beauty of which the Earth and everything arounds us assemble. 
You learn something out of everything, and you come to realise more than ever that we're all here for a certain space of time, and, and then it's going to be over, and you better make this count”.

After college, Nancy Reagen worked many jobs. She worked as a sales clerk in a Marshall Fields Department store as well as a nurse’s aide. Eventually, Reagen found work as an actress. She performed in many broadway and musical shows as well as television series’. Nancy Reagen was definitely a memorable face of acting.

Nancy Reagen met her husband, Ronald Reagen, after being told to seek advice from the Screen Actors Guild President (Ronald Reagen). The two of them began dating not long after and were married at The Little Brown Church, California in 1952.

In 1996, Ronald Reagen was elected Governor of California. Nancy Reagen used her new public platform to work as well as build new foundations and organisations for those in need. She used this platform to assist Vietnam veterans and lead the Foster Grandparents program. Nancy Reagen’s main focus as wife of a Governor was to give back to the people. Both the wealthy and the underprivileged. “I am a big believer that eventually everything comes back to you. You get back what you give out”.

Reagen’s husband was elected President of the United States of America in 1981. During the early phases of his precidency, Nancy Reagen launched her famed ‘Just Say No’ anti-drug campaign. She brought this campaign on tour around the country where she gave speeches and visited rehabilitation centres. Her main focus was to open the eyes and the hearts of those who were wasting their lives to drug abuse, those who could still replenish and rebuild themselves. “There’s a big, wonderful world out there for you. It belongs to you. It's exciting and stimulating and rewarding. Don't cheat yourselves out of this promise.”

During her eight years in the White House, Reagen weathered multiple crisises. Shortly after being elected, her husband was shot in an unsuccessful assassination attempt. In the process of his recovery, Reagen never left his side once. “My life really began when I married my husband”. She took great care of him and their children whilst still holding the responsibilities and duties of a First Lady.

Nancy Reagen was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1987. She chose to undergo a mastectomy to remove her left breast rather than having a lumpectomy. The first lady’s brave and courages decision influenced many women across the country to undergo the same surgery. After going through a life changing time in her life, Nancy Reagen got herself involved in more family-bonding activities with her children as well as participating in various public campaigns. Her life could've ended, but it didnt. Therefore, she made it her mission to live every second it and turn into the best possible version of herself. “As I've said before, time is short, and life is precious”.

After leaving the white house in 1989, Nancy Reagen and her husband both decided to retire to the Los Angeles suburb of Bel Air. During her time here, she began writing her autobiography “My Turn”. Whilst doing so, Reagen had also launched the Nancy Reagen Foundation to support after-school drug prevention programs. “Just say no to drugs!”.

In 1994, Ronald and Nancy Reagen announced that he was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Throughout the years, Nancy became a stalwart advocate for an embryonic stem-cell research, hoping to find somewhat of a cure. Not only was this research done for her husband’s recovery but she made it so others would not have to suffer the uncanny torture of certain diseases. “Embryonic stem cell research has the potential to alleviate so much suffering. Surely, by working together we can harness its life-giving potential”. 

Nancy cared and supported her husband through the remainder of his life and after being and fighting by his side for 10 years, Nancy Reagen said her last words to her husband in 2004. “Everything just fell into place with Ronnie and me. We completed each other”. Needless to say, it was very hard for her to say goodbye to her husband who’s been her other half for more than 50 years. However, Reagen led her family and the nation in mourning by keeping a a strong composure although I would reckon it must have been hard. 

Nancy Reagen has lived quite a perplexing yet eventful life. Throughout the many complications and hardship she’s had to go through to succeed and be where she is now, she’s kept a jolly, diverting vibe. May she continue to inspire us as we go through tough times and may she continue to inspire the young hearts of girls from all walks of life. 


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