Now residing in Jersey City, NJ, Kate was living in Washington, DC when she was diagnosed in July 2012 with stage IIb breast cancer (ER+, PR+, Her2neu+) at the age of 25. Treated by a team of doctors across institutions, and to whom she remains ever grateful, she completed 1.5 years of active treatment - including a neoadjuvant chemotherapy clinical trial, double mastectomy, radiation and one year of Herceptin - on January 31, 2014. Today, she continues to receive maintenance hormone therapy with ovarian suppression and an aromatase inhibitor. Always the youngest patient in oncology waiting rooms and with few sources of support, it did not take long for her to learn the necessity of advocating for one’s self and the impact an empowered patient is able to have on their care. It also did not take long to become frustrated by the poorer survival outcomes in the young women’s patient population, as well as by lack of resources aimed at young adult patients. Now two years out from active treatment, she strives to become an empowered voice for young women living with breast cancer and to intensely advocate for what she believes to be the only way to change the outcomes of this disease: more research.
Kate’s personal connection with YSC runs deep, and she is returning to where, in a way, her post-cancer life began. Overwhelmed and isolated, YSC’s website was her first indication that she was not alone; there were other young women who had heard those ill-fated words. And it was attending her first (of many) YSC happy hours that she was gifted a deep sense of connection and camaraderie. In these meetings, surrounded by other young women with shared experiences, encouraging words of advice, room to safely share and feel, and insights that could not be gleaned in books or the words of my doctors, the power of a community to effect change became evident. Kate is very excited and honored to be able to join nine other young women in YSC’s first RISE cohort so that we may learn to effectively advocate with and on behalf of all young women affected by this disease.