Ten years ago, my mother-in-law was diagnosed with stage 4 non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). She has since been deemed cured and has had no recurrence since her successful treatment. Some of her medicines were funded by The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). We spent years racing for Team In Training (TNT) to fundraise for LLS.
It was almost two years ago that I began noticing unusual pains and aches in my body after giving birth to our daughter. We spent months visiting doctors and undergoing blood tests to figure out what was causing my discomfort. I was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer at 34.
After my fifth round of chemo, I was just fed up with not feeling like I could really help when it came to people’s health. When you're diagnosed with cancer, you become a part of a club you were never asked to join. Letting people know how they can help was so easy when I was having a baby or getting married. So, why is it so difficult when we need the most support? And so, the idea of We Got This was born. Our mission is to build a community of giving and receiving that helps cancer survivors and supporters to live their best lives. We are redefining what giving and receiving look like for those living with cancer.
Being able to give people the tools and the information for what they might need and what they might want adds a whole positive element to this experience. I don’t necessarily believe everything happens for a reason because this is tough, and I wish I didn’t have cancer. But if I’m going to have it, what’s coming out of it is the most special thing I’ve ever done. It’s given me such purpose.
My goal isn’t to just survive. I’m not just doing treatment to stay alive but to thrive. I’m living my best life every single day. Thank you, LLS, for raising the bar on how we support and treat people living with cancer.
On June 4, 2018, I completed a triple crown for TNT. That means that you complete three races within one year, but I completed all three races within three months. On my 30th birthday. I rode 100 miles around Lake Tahoe six years ago. I wore my birthday sash the whole ride. Before that, I did the Lavaman Triathlon in Hawaii. I swam, biked, and ran. I squeezed in the Tinker Bell Half Marathon. I said that I would never run a marathon, and then I did the Los Angeles Marathon. Then I said I would never do another marathon, but then I did the Chicago Marathon. I lifted bikes over my head, did moonwalks in the gym, and even broke a brick during training.
I was very immersed in the cancer community as a supporter well before I was a patient. In a lot of ways, it has made all the difference knowing that I was already a part of this team.
While I don’t have blood cancer, I’ll never forget how much LLS has supported my journey both before and during my own diagnosis. I have been honored to be the Mission Speaker at the Visionary of the Year Grand Finale, and I cannot think of a better way to spend my 36th birthday. We Got This. GO, TEAM!