Ashley is a stage IV, metastatic breast cancer survivor. She identifies as a survivor, earning it the hard way. Ashley is a walking embodiment of why research is important – and she knows it.
It all started in 2010 with a stage 2 breast cancer diagnosis. The diagnosis led to a double mastectomy and chemotherapy. It was “standard protocol.”
In the time between 2010 and 2017, Ashley was proactive. She, and numerous family members, tested for the gene mutation. She tested positive for the BRCA2 gene. Others tested positive too, her 24-year daughter will be tested soon.
She asked lots of questions, but the questions were always met with assurance. For the most part, with the encouragement of her doctors, she closed the chapter on cancer.
In October 2017, Ashley went in for a gallbladder ultrasound. The gallbladder looked good, but there was a spot on her liver. The cancer was back, this time metastatic.
From Ashley’s vantage point, hope is key. Knowing the current treatment is working is, of course, great. Knowing there are other options to try if the current treatment should fail to get results – HUGE. This is the value of research.
Ashley shares her story alongside her daughter, Gracie. Like so many mothers, the hardest part for her was telling her kids. She remembers both conversations. The amazing thing is as she compares the two moments, 2010 and 2017, she recalls the hope they felt in 2017. Though metastatic, cancer research had advanced so far beyond where things were in 2010. There was reason to be hopeful.
This is EVERYTHING. A reason to hope – hope for better treatments, hope for more time with kids, maybe one day grandkids. Hope that one day cancer won’t be a thing.