If you are currently living in Pittsburgh and living with MBC, you may submit this form to request to have your stories added to the stories below.
Andrea was diagnosed with stage II breast cancer in 2011, and underwent chemotherapy and endocrine therapy; in 2014, Andrea was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and had local therapy to her liver in the form of radiation and was NED for almost 4 years. After 4 years, she had progression in her chest wall and her cancer morphed from being ER+ to triple negative. After enrolling in a clinical trial with immunotherapy she was back to being NED. Unfortunately, this past November she was diagnosed with Myelodysplastic syndrome/Acute Myeloid Leukemia.
Andrea, 51, lives in Cranberry Township with her husband, Bill, and together they have three children – Will, Drew, and Mara. She loves spending time with her family and her dog, as well as traveling to attend concerts or visit the beach.
Andrea says, “If you have your health, you have EVERYTHING! I am truly in a fight for my life now.”
Andrea passed away on February 28, 2020 , in the comfort of her home, surrounded by her family.
Cindy was diagnosed de novo stage IV in May of 2014 – that is, metastatic from the very beginning – and underwent a unilateral mastectomy with axillary lymph node removal. 18 lymph nodes were removed, and all were found to be cancerous. Cindy was diagnosed with metastatic infiltrating lobular carcinoma to her bones in June of 2014, and received four rounds of Adriamycin and Cytoxan followed by 12 rounds of Taxol in the summer and fall. She underwent radiation therapy in January of 2015, followed by an oophorectomy in April. The oophorectomy confirmed that both her ovaries and fallopian tubes had infiltrating lobular carcinoma tumors present. She is currently taking Tamoxifen and XGeva.
Cindy, 49, lives in Canonsburg, PA, with her husband; together they have two children, Blake and Brooke. Her favorite things are spending time with her family and hitting the beach for some rest and relaxation.
Jill was diagnosed in January of 2017, and has undergone 10 radiation treatments, as well as receiving Herceptin/perjeta, Arimidex, Faslodex, Exemestane, and Kadcyla. In 2019, Jill had over 60 doctors’ visits, hospital stays, and a wide range of testing; she says that, on average, she spent more than one day a week in a hospital setting over the course of the year.
Jill, 56, lives in Allison Park, PA, and has three grown sons. She loves to spend time with her family and friends, and is an avid crafter.
Jill says, “In 2019, more than six of my Pittsburgh friends were killed by MBC – people with loving families, who had much to contribute to our communities, and were doing everything they could to stay alive. With your help, we can fund the research into MBC so that others who receive this diagnosis will have the medicine to keep them alive. I am hoping that 2020 will be better for all of us living with stage IV breast cancer.”
Jill is serving as co-chair of our event.
Jill passed away on April 1, 2020 at the age of 56 years old.
Pamela Hogue was diagnosed de novo stage IV at just 28 years old.
Now 32, Pamela lives in Washington, PA, with her dog, Zoey, and enjoys spending time with her family, friends, and boyfriend. Fall is her favorite time of year, with its crisp air, cool weather, and comfy clothes. Pamela loves Christmastime and sweet-smelling candles, conversations over a good latte, and long hugs.
Pamela says, “Live every day with purpose and gratitude. You don’t have to backpack through Europe or jump off the Empire State Building; it can be as simple as starting every morning thankful for another day in a healthy body, hugging your kids tightly and being grateful you have them, or making sure your friends know how much you love them and spending time together. All of these things are priceless, and we never know when we don’t get another chance to do them.”
Amy was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer in November 2015 and was treated with 12 rounds of Taxol and four rounds of a combination of Adriamycin and Cytoxan. She had a lumpectomy with lymph node removal, followed by six months’ treatment with Xeloda. In June 2017, Amy was diagnosed stage IV with metastatic cancer in her lung; in 2019, she was diagnosed with metastatic cancer in her brain. Amy has been in active treatment since being diagnosed metastatic, including additional chemotherapy, surgeries, PARP inhibitors, radiation, Gamma Knife radiosurgery, and immunotherapy.
Amy, 36, lives in Bethel Park, PA. Her favorite things include spending time with her boyfriend and their two dogs, playing cards with her family, and traveling whenever she can, and spending time with friends.
Amy says, “Please be patient with those of us dealing with cancer. Things can change so quickly, from riding a high of stable scan results, to depths of sorrow of getting news of setbacks.”
Amy passed away on March 11, 2020: One day after her 36th birthday.
Shannon was originally diagnosed in November of 2016, and has undergone multiple treatments, including chemotherapy, radiation, multiple surgeries, targeted therapies, hormone blockers, and treatments for bone loss.
Now 37, Shannon lives in Leechburg, PA, and loves to vacation and staycation with her family, making memories with her four children, Alicia, Graciella, Wayland, and stepson, Alex. She enjoys escaping into fantasy novels so that her mind “can be in another world for a little while.”
Shannon says, “Many cancer stories hit too close to home for us mets ladies, and bring forth thoughts of mortality – how our lives are so short and lived in fear, not completely for our own death, but for our loved ones and how they will live after we are gone. We can’t help but band together and try to support each other, even if these friendships can be gone too soon. We grieve for our friends while at the same time praying and hoping that we are not next, and wishing with all our hearts that none of them were gone now.”
Mary was diagnosed de novo stage IV in 2011, and is currently being treated with Xeloda and Herceptin. This is her fourth line of treatment, and she has also participated in a clinical trial.
Mary, now 57, lives in Munhall, PA; her son, Patrick, and his fiancée Kacie live in Denver, Colorado. Family and friends are among Mary’s favorite things in life, along with sunny beaches, finding the good in everything, and enjoying every day, no matter how hard it might be.
Mary says, “I don’t expect people to understand all I go through. I don’t worry about them saying the wrong things; most of the time, I don’t even know what to say. Everyone has their something, no matter how big or small, going on in their life. What I do know is that I’m loved, and that no matter what happens, I have an army of people marching along side of me, and I don’t take that for granted. I fight for those that love me the most, not for me, because there’s been times when I think of saying enough is enough. I have met so many amazing people on this journey, some here and some not, and I’ve learned so much from each of them. My destiny is known, but isn’t all of ours? It’s a matter of luck and when that will run out. I feel lucky every day despite this disease, and while it’s changed me, I value each day more than ever and take nothing for granted. Kind of cliché, but there’s a difference between thinking it, saying it and living it. I do my best to live it.”
Mary is serving as co-chair of our event.
Sophia was diagnosed de novo in November of 2017 with metastases to her lungs, liver, spine, and bones; in July 2018, she was diagnosed with brain mets and was treated with Gamma Knife radiosurgery. Sophia has been on Herceptin since diagnosis, and has undergone a slew of other treatments, including Adriamycin, Taxol, Perjeta, combinations of Arimidex and Ibrance, Faslodex and Ibrance, TDM-1, and Navelbine. She is currently receiving Enhertu, as well as Xgeva shots. In May 2018, Sophia opted to have an oophorectomy rather than continue with Zoladex shots for ovarian suppression and learned that there were cancer cells in her ovaries.
Sophia, 40, lives in North Huntingdon, PA, with her children Helena, Joey, and Johnny, and likes to spend her time hanging out with her family and friends, cuddling her cats, and listening to or playing music. She plays piano both recreationally and at her church on Sundays, and teaches preschool in North Huntingdon during the week. Sophia is an adventurous eater, and loves to spend time in the kitchen trying out new recipes.
Sophia says, “I feel like Cancerland bleeds over into everything, and having an MBC diagnosis changes the perspective with which I see the world. Most days I don’t even feel like I’m sick, and then other days I’m reminded of it, and it’s a hard thing to have to remember. There’s no reason that, at this point in time, it should still be such a devastating diagnosis, and that’s why I try to do the little bit I can to advocate for research and tell people about this disease. I wish I could do more, but I try to remember that every little bit counts.”