“Tell the story of the mountain you climbed. Your words could become a page in someone else’s survival guide.”
I didn’t realize the importance of those words until I found a lump in my breast ten months ago. Prior to that moment, a brave friend, Laura Ritter Allio, shared her story. Laura fought triple negative breast cancer with tremendous courage. She was open with her battle and used social media to push women to do self-exams once a month on the 18th, now deemed “Laura’s Day”. Following her advice, on November 18, 2019, I found a lump. I was diagnosed with breast cancer a few days later. I was 34 years old.
When I heard the word “cancer”, I was shocked. I had no family history. I ate well, exercised and meditated daily! Unfortunately, cancer doesn’t always listen, even to those with the healthiest intentions. Through all the pain and suffering (surgery, chemo, radiation…during COVID), I learned I have strength I never knew existed, change is unavoidable but so is growth, and above all else LOVE heals.
This October, breast cancer awareness takes on a whole new meaning for me. Without Laura’s story, I wouldn’t have done a self-exam or pushed for a mammogram. Without her, I wouldn’t have the same chance at survival that I currently have. So, in honor of Laura and all the brave women who shared before me, I want to tell my story and remind young people that cancer can happen. And when it comes to health, we are own best advocates.
While early detection is key in the fight against breast cancer, we won’t win the war without science. And that’s where my friend, Ben, and Welly Bottle comes in. Ben started Welly in honor of his mom, Elly, who lost her battle to liver cancer. Welly is a company that focuses on altruism and social responsibility, so when I asked Ben if he would consider donating a portion of proceeds of Welly’s pink bottle to breast cancer research during October, he didn’t hesitate.
Ultimately, research is what prolongs life after a cancer diagnosis, research is our path to a cure. This is why I asked Welly to donate proceeds to METAvivor. While breast cancer fundraisers are everywhere, only 2-3% of money is dedicated toward Stage IV research. METAvivor is the only organization that solely funds research for metastatic breast cancer (cancer that has spread beyond the breast and become life threatening). 100% of donations to METAvivor go to MBC-specific research grants. There is no cure for breast cancer without a cure for Stage IV.
In life, we may not feel ready to climb the mountain, but with love and support, we can find the strength and courage we need to reach the summit. My battle against breast cancer will never be over until there is a cure, that’s my promise to Laura. This month, I begin a new chapter of this fight, with a Welly in hand.
Woman with short hair sits smiling on grassy hill with pink water bottle in hand
- Brittany Jackson
Note: click here to donate directly to METAvivor