I’m an Everygirl and my mother passed away from metastatic breast cancer at the age of 59 when I was only 22 years old. If there is one thing she has taught me, it is to leave your mark on this world. Do or create something that will live on long after you do.
My mother Karen was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in May of 2007 and passed away in August of 2009. Breast cancer becomes metastatic when the cancer has spread beyond the breast to other organs in the body. In January of 2009, she and three other women founded a support and awareness group for metastatic breast cancer called METAvivor. Not only did the group raise awareness and support, it started to raise money to fund research. After one year, METAvivor awarded its first grant of $55,000. In the second year it awarded grants totaling $75,000. Now in its third year, METAvivor recently awarded a research grant of over $150,000.
METAvivor also recently launched a campaign to raise awareness for the “Elephant in the Pink Room” during Breast Cancer Awareness Month to place a spotlight on the fact that metastatic breast cancer causes 40,000 deaths per year and is often ignored. Approximately 30% of breast cancer patients will develop metastatic breast cancer and only about 5% of total cancer research funding in the western world goes toward metastatic disease of any cancer type. Since her passing, METAvivor has grown exponentially, and I know my mother would be oh, so proud.
About me? I am 25 and live and work in Annapolis, Maryland. Along with working full time as a Development Coordinator at an art center, I have a blog called Kelsey Nicole. I am an active volunteer with METAvivor and also recently joined the Annapolis Junior League. Like any other 25-year-old, I am finding my way in life. But unlike other 25-year-olds, I am doing so without one of my biggest cheerleaders by my side. My mother was smart, patient, selfless, extremely positive, and above all else, incredibly strong. She was not afraid of anything, not love, not change, not even cancer. I am learning to feel her guidance and strength in my heart, and I will spend the rest of my life loving her, thinking of her, discovering bits of her in me, and striving to make her proud.