The Cancer Couch Foundation

If you know more than 8 women, this disease will impact your life at some point.

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in September 2015 I was not only blindsided, but also thrown into an emotional roller coaster that I am probably still riding. Initially, I was diagnosed at Stage 2. A few weeks later, following the mastectomy, this was changed to “at least Stage 3C” based on the lymph node involvement. After a bone scan the following week, I was told it had spread and I was already at Stage 4 (aka “de novo”  – which means from the beginning – 6-10% of breast cancer patients are diagnosed at Stage 4 initially). Three weeks later, a bone biopsy miraculously revealed normal bone tissue, and I was upgraded back to Stage 3C. In a matter of weeks, I went through the emotional and informational overload of virtually every stage of this disease before I even began treatment. I sought out, and received, an eye-opening crash course into the world of breast cancer – specifically Stage 4 or, metastatic breast cancer (mbc) – when the cancer spreads outside the breast to another part of the body. What I learned, and realized I did not know, shocked me as I am not only a healthcare provider, but have lost friends to this disease and consider myself a fairly educated person.  I really had no idea about the facts and now that I do, I am absolutely compelled to try to educate others and change some numbers that I’m about to share with you:

  • 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in their lifetime
  • 30% of people diagnosed with early stage breast cancer (stages 1-3) will ultimately progress to Stage 4 – metastatic breast cancer. This is what you die from.
  • There is currently only treatment, no cure – for Stage 4.
  • The average prognosis for patients with metastatic breast cancer is 2-3 years.  
  • In 2012, there were an estimated 2,975,314 women living with female breast cancer in the United States. 
  • Over 40,000 people in the US die from breast cancer each year.                                                              

Trust me when I tell you that when you are 43 with two little kids and are told you have about 3 years to live, you are beyond devastated. I do not even have a word for the feeling I experienced hearing that. However, I was somehow pulled back from the abyss – and with a diagnosis of Stage 3C – told that we were now “going for a cure.” Until I heard those words, I had no idea that there was this invisible line, this differential between “early stage breast cancer” (Stages 1-3) that could potentially be cured (although as I mentioned, people can believe they are cured and then have the cancer return and metastasize years later), and “late stage” or Stage 4, metastatic breast cancer – for which there is no cure. These patients will be in treatment the rest of their lives. I made a vow to stand side by side with those who are living with this diagnosis. My goals are, to raise awareness about these largely unknown or misunderstood facts of breast cancer, and to fund research to work toward a cure and substantially improved treatment options for Stage 4. I decided to start this foundation to do just that. I relentlessly put out queries searching for the “leading racehorse” to get behind, the scientists most likely to cure this thing or at least make life-changing strides NOW – in our lifetime. I am doing this not only for myself and those currently living with mbc, but also for the other women (and men) in all of our lives who will unfortunately, but inevitably and eventually, also become victims of breast cancer.

If you know more than 8 women, this disease will impact your life at some point.

My foundation, which will be fully up and running by the summer of 2016, is called “The Cancer Couch Foundation.” We will exclusively fund cutting edge, promising research projects focused on improving treatment and breakthroughs for metastatic breast cancer.

Please join me in this vitally important mission. I will be posting upcoming events soon and will have a donate tab (all donations are tax deductible and you will be provided with a letter and our 501 c3 number).

My intention is to keep this foundation lean and mean. It will be completely volunteer run with no salaries, we will post fully transparent financial statements, as well as regular updates from the research team(s) we support, and pass on questions or concerns from donors to the researchers. I will not fund any program that charges more than an 8% administrative fee. Thus, you can be confident that whether you donate 1 dollar or 1 million dollars, you will be a vital part of the powerful work this foundation is funding!

Stay tuned… more information coming asap including introduction to the executive board and committee members, as well as our medical advisor. We are vetting research teams now, and planning for our first annual concert event  – “The Cancer Beat” to be held September 10, 2016 at The Warehouse in Fairfield, CT. This will be an incredibly fun night with once in a lifetime live auction items (including signed guitars by Bruce Springsteen and the late, great, Glenn Frey)! We are thrilled that The English Beat will be performing. Ticket sales info, and more details to be announced soon.

If you know more than 8 women, this disease will impact your life at some point.

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