Previvor, North Carolina

“Growing up at home it was my father, Mike, my mother, Virginia, my older sister, Jamie and myself.”

We moved around NY a few times but as far back as I can remember we spent holidays either with my dad’s large family of 8 brothers, wives and cousins or my mom’s family of 5 children, their spouses and our cousins. ⁠

There was a lot of faith, laughter, playing, performing and most definitely plenty of food! Our family was close, big and very beautiful on all sides.⁠

At the age of 19 I heard the words, “she has breast cancer” for the first time and many more after that. The day in 2006 that I heard these words they came out a little different…She said, “ I have breast cancer.” ⁠

My mom, Virginia was telling me these words as she had just recently been diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma Stage 2. Heartbroken and in faith I walked through this with my mom. (Unfortunately my mom passed away in 2015)⁠.

In 2010 I made the hard choice to have a preventative double mastectomy becoming a previvor to lessen my chances of having breast cancer from a 90% chance to 10% chance.

This was a hard choice because you can talk about it with others, pray about it but nothing prepares you like actually walking through it personally. I struggled with the loss of my Aunt Katherine in 2012 and my grandmother shortly after, as well as body image and depression.⁠

It almost ended my marriage and started me down a destructive path, but I chose to get help and move forward on making better choices and using my struggles to help others.