I have good news! I am still alive and stomping at the MD Anderson Boot Walk 2018! The not so good news for y’all is that I am still hard at work raising funds and asking for donations.
Quick update on me; most of you already know that my breast cancer returned after a 16 year hiatus. By the time it was diagnosed again, it had already crept into my bones and lymph nodes making it stage 4, metastatic breast cancer (MBC). I have been on a clinical trial at MD Anderson since November 2016, have had 37 chemo infusions and my cancer is stable. That means it hasn’t grown. That’s about the best we can hope for given metastatic breast cancer’s aggressive nature. One of the drugs on the trial is a targeted therapy called PARP which inhibits the repair in tumor cells especially in BRCA mutations. I am so thankful that I live close enough to an institution dedicated to research and clinical trials. MD Anderson is an incredible place and without the superior knowledge of my medical team there, I don’t think I would be doing as well.
I am a wife, mother, friend, sister, teacher, yogi, hiker, traveler, chocolate lover and advocate. I am also a patient living with terminal cancer. My days are filled with love and contentment, but fear and anger linger in the background intensifying every experience, every conversation, every vacation, and every hug. When breast cancer entered my life again, I felt powerless over the disease. I was angry. I had to do something. I decided to become very active to help patients like me. Last year I joined the Stomp Out Stage 4 Breast Cancer team to raise funds for the creation of an Advanced Breast Cancer Clinic (ABC). The goal of the ABC is to improve survival and quality of life with the ultimate goal of ending death from metastatic breast cancer. After the Boot Walk last year, I joined the steering committee for the ABC and have learned a lot about how much effort and financial resources it takes to start and sustain a program like this. I am happy to report that we have made progress and this year the program hired a patient navigator, started a pilot program, began seeing newly diagnosed metastatic breast cancer patients and was added to the official MDA website. Check it out https://www.mdanderson.org/patients-family/diagnosis-treatment/care-centers-clinics/breast-center/advanced-breast-cancer-clinic.html
In order to continue the help that an ABC Clinic can provide, we must continue to raise funds to support it. One awesome thing about the MDA Boot Walk is they allow teams who raise at least $25,000 to choose specifically where they want their funds allocated. Last year, Stomp Out Stage 4 Breast Cancer directed its funds to the ABC Clinic, and we plan on doing the same this year.
I am not one to say that cancer is a blessing. Nope. Instead I am driven to help make changes for those that will follow me, facing the same fate. The ABC clinic can make a difference.
Breast cancer continues to take over 40,000 lives every year. Despite all the efforts in early detection, the number of deaths from this disease has barely changed in the last 20 years. And what’s even more saddening is of those patients diagnosed at an early stage, an estimated 30% or more will eventually progress to stage 4. Despite what you might hear, there still isn't a cure. If you don’t know someone that has already died of breast cancer, you will.
Here is how you can help:
1. Pray. Never underestimate the power of prayer.
2. Join my team and come out and walk with us. You do not need to make a donation to walk. Your support and encouragement are priceless!
3. If you can, please consider donating. There are two ways to donate:
• ON-LINE - click on the red DONATE Button on my personal page
• MAIL A CHECK made out to MD Anderson Cancer Center. Please note in the memo line “Stomp Out Stage IV Breast Cancer Team” AND mail to me (reach out and I will give you the address)
Thank you for your love, support, prayers and good vibes! Alex
MD Anderson Boot Walk-7007 Bertner Ave, Houston Medical Center
November 10, 2018 at 1:00
Walk distance 1.2 miles-boots encouraged, but not mandatory
End Cancer-post walk celebration at 3:00 on the prairie at 1100 Holcombe Blvd.