Pittsburgh is known as “The City of Bridges” because of the 446 bridges connecting the city’s residents across its many creeks, valleys, and, of course, three majestic rivers.
We at Pittsburgh Metsquerade decided early on that this is a perfect metaphor for what we’re trying to do – bridge the gaps between patients living with MBC and early-stage breast-cancer patients and allies, as well as connect the many different communities affected by MBC. Our group is all-inclusive, and our strongest message is #WeAreAllInThisTogether.
We also strive to create closer connections between researchers, patients, and advocates, which is why we have decided to have two Keynote Speakers – one representing the research community and one representing patients and advocates. We hope through this event to inspire others to continue this dialogue and reach across distances long after the evening of the Pittsburgh Metsquerade draws to a close.
Terlisa Sheppard is a 4-time breast cancer survivor who was originally diagnosed in 1998 with stage 3, HER2+, ER+, PR-, breast cancer at age 31, while 8 ½ months pregnant. She has been living with stage IV metastatic breast cancer for over 18 years, with metastases to her bones, lungs, liver, spine, abdomen, and brain. While going through countless chemotherapy and radiation treatments; Terlisa has been hospitalized for things like a blood clot in her lungs, pneumonia, and a total hip replacement, which included an extended stay for a MERSA staph infection. Through her journey, she has inspired others to fight through their diagnosis and live their best life, one day at a time. She is the proud founder of a small, non-profit breast cancer organization called, Terlisa Fights Breast Cancer, Inc. (Terlisa Fights) and a co-author of “Unbreakable Spirit, Rising Above The Impossible.”
Terlisa is the mother of two beautiful daughters, who continue to give her strength and the daily motivation that she needs to get through each day, no matter how hard it might seem at the moment. She is a patient advocate and a fighter, not only for herself, but for those who share her similar fate. She has been using her voice to spread hope to others through one-on-one mentoring, via social media outlets, and just by spending countless hours volunteering and raising awareness for the need for more funding for metastatic breast cancer research.
Because of Terlisa’s continuous work in the community, she has received various awards and recognitions to include receiving the Woman of Courage Award from the National Women’s Political Caucus in Washington, D.C. She has also been featured in many publications, newspaper articles, and an on-going commercial for UF Health Cancer Center-Orlando Health.
Dr. Oesterreich is Professor and Vice-Chair of the Department of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology, University of Pittsburgh, Co-Leader Cancer Biology Program, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, Co-Director Womens Cancer Research Center, UPMC HCC and Magee Womens Research Institute.
Dr. Oesterreich joined University of Pittsburgh in August 2010 as Professor with Tenure in the Department of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology, and as Director of Education in the Women’s Cancer Research Center (WCRC), a collaboration between the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center and Magee-Womens Research Institute & Foundation. She currently serves as Co-Director of the WCRC. Her laboratory focuses on resistance to hormonal therapies in patients with estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer, breast cancer metastases, and invasive lobular breast cancer. Dr. Oesterreich enjoys working in multi-disciplinary teams and is committed to mentoring the next generation of breast cancer researchers.
She has authored over 150 scientific articles in the area of breast cancer, serves on editorial boards for Cancer Research and Hormones and Cancer, and functions as Deputy Editor for
Breast Cancer Research. Her research has continuously been funded by National Cancer Institute, CDMRP, Susan G Komen, The Breast Cancer Research Foundation and other breast cancer foundations for many years. Dr. Oesterreich is a Susan G Komen Scholar, thereby belonging to a selective group of leading national and international breast cancer experts. She recently finished chairing the Tumor Cell Biology Study Section at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and she also chaired the 2019 Gordon Research Conference on Hormones and Cancer. Dr. Oesterreich and her husband Dr. Adrian Lee have 2 daughters (Paula and Nicola), and enjoy living in Pittsburgh.