Thanks to all for the support bestowed upon me this month of October – Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It can be a difficult 31 days for those of us living with breast cancer. Having Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC), can make it even more emotional and difficult as the images of survivorship and pink warriors are everywhere for the month.
To recap, I was fortunate enough to be able to tell my story of MBC to Theresa Marchetta at Channel 7 news. Theresa is a two time thyroid cancer patient, and she understands the stress of having to undergo regular scans and the worry about progression. She took a genuine and personal interest in my story and did a great job to help me explain the urgency and importance of better funding for breast cancer research, especially around MBC. I feel fortunate to consider her a friend. Cancer patients always seem to connect due to our shared experiences. Interview
Many in the MBC community took serious steps to bring attention to the lack of research funding for MBC. The group, MET UP, staged a successful “die-in” in Washington, D.C. on Metastatic Breast Cancer Day – October 13th. The die in was used to highlight that the number of people that die daily in the U.S. and the world from MBC has not changed significantly since 1975 and to implore our leaders in federal government to address this issue. We still lose 40,000 people a year in the U.S. – that’s about 110 people per day. MBC funding is thought to be only about 7%, some say even less, of the breast cancer donations. Read Forbes Article About the Die-In
The #iamsusan campaign, born this month, focuses on reminding the Susan G. Komen organization of the promise made by its founder and former CEO, Nancy Brinker, to “end breast cancer” in honor of her sister, Susan G. Komen. I find this to be a slippery slope. Komen and its supporters feel “Stepford Wife-like” in their continued and stubborn focus on “awareness” and “education.” These campaigns have come under fire in recent times as they feel empty and hollow at this point. Especially since Komen now seems to be throwing bones at MBC advocates in an effort to quiet them down. They have a campaign just for October that allows you to choose where your donation will go – including an MBC category. Why only a month set aside to choose? That said, Komen’s influence and purse would be a huge resource for bringing better understanding, and more importantly the ability to focus more research funds on why breast cancer metastasizes and potentially find a cure after it has spread to distant parts of the body. I wish they would make a genuine effort to support MBC patients. Kelli Parker, the creator of the #iamsusan campaign, is tireless and passionate in her mission. #iamsusan FB page
I also signed up to participate in the Metastatic Breast Cancer Project. The Project is a collaborative effort between researchers, doctors and patients focused solely on MBC. Its goal is to generate a comprehensive set of data to be shared with the entire research community so that all scientists can take part in the discoveries made possible by direct patient engagement. One cannot vehemently advocate for better research funding and then not take part in such an opportunity as this. The chance to share my personal cancer information, DNA, and stored tumor material in this project is a no-brainer. MBCProject FB Page
And finally, thanks to my friends, Brandi and Beth, who hosted a Taco Tuesday event on October 13th. My family and friends that participated, along with those that saw the Channel 7 Interview, helped raise approximately $15,000 for METAvivor on my behalf! METAvivor is dedicated to the specific fight of women and men living with Stage 4 Metastatic Breast Cancer. At the time of METAvivor’s founding, no organization was dedicated to funding research for the disease and no patient groups were speaking out about the dearth of Stage 4 cancer research. While more and more people have taken up the cry for more Stage 4 research, METAvivor remains the sole U.S. organization dedicated to awarding annual Stage 4 breast cancer research grants.
I am simply overwhelmed by the outpouring of generosity and support.
Which brings us to November, and the fact that I have so much to be thankful for… including all of you, my dear friends and family. Bring on the turkey, football and pie. Gobble-Gobble!