I was diagnosed with breast cancer at 28 and again at 32. My first diagnosis was considered non-invasive but I opted for a double mastectomy, hoping for a long, cancer-free life. Four years later, despite a very small risk for cancer recurrence, it came back as invasive ductal carcinoma. I was grateful to have avoided toxic treatment the first time, but for the second diagnosis I underwent chemotherapy, surgery, radiation, and hormone therapy. I still suffer from the side effects of estrogen deprivation, but I am grateful to be happy and healthy. I live in the mountains of Montana and enjoy hiking and fishing with my boyfriend and Labrador retriever Tana. I also enjoy creating art and challenging myself with exercise.
I first learned of the DoD BCRP after my first diagnosis. I completed the Young Survival Coalition Tour de Pink fundraiser bike ride and they were looking to nominate consumer reviewers. I work as a fisheries biologist and have both experience and interest in biology and science. It was a perfect fit; I was thrilled to use my passions and experiences for good. I have served as a consumer reviewer for BCRP for over six years, and each experience is unique, educational, and life-changing.
The DoD BCRP is a place where breast cancer survivors and researchers are on the same team. We all have different backgrounds and expertise, but we come together to fund the best research. We are all deeply committed to the work and goal of ending breast cancer. The researchers have personal reasons for doing the work as well as scientific expertise, so they come to discussions highly engaged. I have experience and expertise in the real world of breast cancer, which is an important voice and not something truly understood without living with the disease. My perspective includes an understanding of what may or may not work for patients and what breakthrough research really means. I attend with the intention of fighting for everyone dying for a cure, and for those not yet diagnosed.
Advocacy is a passion of mine. I am also involved with Living Beyond Breast Cancer as a Young Advocate Alumni, Susan G. Komen Advocates in Science, and Barbells for Boobs. I am particularly interested in guiding breast cancer research; I believe that new treatments and breakthrough research is how we will save the many people dying of metastatic breast cancer. I am also very interested in understanding the role of nutrition and fitness in breast cancer. Research is one way to give hope to patients—by providing options that just might work for them. I will continue to fight for new ways to save lives, and am honored to work with the BCRP to end breast cancer through breakthrough research.
Last updated Wednesday, October 21, 2020