JOIN THE BATTLE. GIVE TO BEAT RARE CANCERS.
Welcome to my fundraising page! Here's my story..
1 in 8 US women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. 1. In. 8.
In January of 2018, at 28 years old, I was diagnosed with a rare form of breast cancer. It’s estimated that this particular kind of cancer affects only 3 - 5% of the 320,000+ women diagnosed with breast cancer each year. Typically, those that are diagnosed with this cancer are well into their 60s and 70s; I was an anomaly.
I am a part of the Equinox family. I worked for their ‘sister’ brand Blink for over four years. Because of Equinox’s involvement with Cycle for Survival, I was familiar with the name Memorial Sloan Kettering and, immediately following my diagnosis, made an appointment.
Though my family, friends, and coworkers rallied around me without skipping a beat, those first few weeks were incredibly scary. There is nothing worse than waiting for your treatment plan, your ‘fate,’ so to speak. The unknown is terrifying, and not just for yourself, but for your loved ones, as well.
I was incredibly fortunate to only need two surgeries, combined with endocrine therapy; I did not need chemotherapy or radiation. On March 19, 2019, I underwent a double mastectomy, and three months later, I had reconstructive surgery. Today, I am cancer-free.
Many may not know this, but it truly takes a village to kick cancer’s ass. My phenomenal team of doctors at Memorial Sloan Kettering included: Dr Gemignani, my breast surgeon; Dr Disa, my plastic surgeon; Trish, my plastics nurse (who treated me every other week for three months); Kim Amoroso, my genetic counselor; Dr Parker, my therapist; Dr Modi, my oncologist; and Heidi, my oncology nurse (who will treat me every four weeks for the next ten years). This list doesn’t begin to cover the many nurses, techs, PAs, and NPs I saw throughout for biopsies, MRIs, blood draws, scans, and a variety of other tests and treatments.
Being a patient at MSK made a very difficult time much more bearable. Every person I encountered truly cared about my well-being and did everything in their power to help. Since my cancer was so rare, MSK ran a variety of tests, presented my case in front of their tumor board, and consulted with several doctors on the best course of action. I felt confident in their decisions and comfortable with my care.
Aside from world-class treatment, being a patient at a cancer center like MSK helps tremendously with the ‘logistics’ of cancer care. I did not have to worry about making sure test results got from one doctor to another at seperate practices. My doctors could view my upcoming appointments and schedule other appointments around them so that it would be most convenient for me. Even insurance and financial issues were consolidated and dealt with by MSK’s team. All of this is so very helpful at a time when you aren’t thinking clearly, and it allows you to focus on getting better.
Now that I am on the other side, I feel relieved, grateful, but most of all, lucky. I am lucky to be surrounded by such amazing family, friends, and coworkers. (Side note: I could definitely go on and on and about my support system, but this message is about MSK! That’s another story for another day.). I am lucky that my prognosis was favorable; it could have been much, much worse. And I am lucky to live in NYC and be a patient at Memorial Sloan Kettering.
I can't deny that I am a "best case scenario" for breast cancer, and there is still so much work to be done for breast cancer and all cancers. During last year's ride, as I rode my bike with my little army of twenty girlfriends, mother, and sister-in-law - all decked out in hot pink - the statistic kept coming back to me. 1 in 8. 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. I am terrified of the day that one of my smart, beautiful friends will call to tell me that they, too, have been diagnosed with breast cancer, and they may not be as lucky as I was.
Please consider donating to Cycle for Survival. My hope is that others affected by a rare cancer can get the same care and treatment that I did. I hope research continues to progress, so that no matter what type of cancer you have, you will have the treatment options to beat it. And most of all, I hope that one day, no one will ever have to hear the words, “You have cancer.”
To appropriate an old saying that my Penn Staters will recognize:
One day we will ride in celebration. Until then, we will ride for a cure.
Cycle for Survival Fast Facts!
Since 2007, Cycle for Survival supporters have provided resources to hundreds of doctors and scientists to pursue bold ideas that have led to the FDA approval of new drugs, lifesaving clinical trials, and four state-of-the-art DNA sequencers that are aiding in key cancer discoveries.
50% of People with Cancer Have a Rare Cancer
Did you know that, when combined, about half of all patients fighting cancer are fighting a rare cancer? These are cancers you’ve likely heard of — such as leukemia, lymphoma, thyroid, ovarian, brain, pancreatic, and all pediatric cancers.
100% of Your Donation Supports Research
Every dollar you give funds innovative studies and clinical trials led by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK). Discoveries made by MSK revolutionize how cancer is diagnosed and treated, helping patients everywhere.
6 Months for Fast Impact
Rare cancer research is underfunded, and too often people don’t have proven treatments. Time matters. Your gift will be in the hands of researchers six months after fundraising ends and, as a donor, you will learn about the projects supported.