Over the past few years, I have met some extraordinary women. Some by chance and some I have reached out to because their story touched me. Mandi is one of these women.
Mandi, breast cancer blogger at Darn Good Lemonade, was initially diagnosed with stage IIB breast cancer on December 30, 2010, the day before her thirty-first birthday. She was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer on October 6, 2014 with mets to the spine and lymph nodes in her chest and lungs.
Today at stage IV, Mandi's mission is to bring awareness to and educate others on metastatic breast cancer, for which there is no cure.
When I contacted Mandi about including her in this series, she was totally on board – as long as the focus was on metastatic breast cancer, the need for more research into the disease, and the impact it has on tens of thousands of lives annually in the U.S. and even more around the world.
But that’s Mandi, always willing to share her story if it helps someone else.
So, while I could talk about her clever wit and no frills, “tell-it-like-it-is” attitude that made her on of the "Top Breast Cancer Bloggers” for 2014 and 2015, consider these statistics from METAvivor instead:
- 100% of breast cancer deaths occur because of metastasis.
- Almost 100% of people whose breast cancer has metastasized will die from it.
- In the United States alone, this means that more than 40,000 vibrant lives are lost each year.
Metastatic breast cancer research
“Despite these stark realities, the popular breast cancer fundraising movements give on average only 2% of their research funds to researching metastasis. Instead, their primary focus is on prevention, which does nothing to help those already diagnosed, and early detection, which does not impact those facing the ultimate death sentence of stage 4 breast cancer.
And while only 6-10% of initial breast cancer diagnoses are metastatic, 30% of patients diagnosed with earlier stage breast cancer will eventually develop stage 4 breast cancer and die.” (METAvivor, 2015)
You do not die from breast cancer in the breast.
If you know someone who has died from breast cancer, they died from metastatic breast cancer. This month, in a sea of pink, join the nationwide effort to raise awareness about the truths of stage IV breast cancer and the inequities in funding for this form of the disease. Many metastatic researchers believe that with more money for research into effective treatments, metastatic breast cancer could become a chronic, rather than terminal, disease.
Take Action: Donate your money and time.
With your monetary donation to METAvivor, 100% of all funds go directly to fund grants for metastatic breast cancer research (unless the donor designates otherwise). You may also volunteer your time to help spread awareness and raise funds.
For more ways to take action, visit METAvivor.
I want to thank Mandi for her openness in sharing her story, struggles, fears and triumphs. Your experiences and difficult decisions have touched many lives and undoubtedly provided comfort to other stage IV fighters. You are an amazing warrior!