STAGE 2 & BRCA 1, Philadelphia

I was a teacher for 13 years. I was that “yes” girl that over-extended herself and said yes to everyone. I suddenly found myself being extremely overworked and underpaid. When I found a lump in my left breast, everything changed.

Not only did I have stage II breast cancer that already traveled to my lymph nodes, but I found out I had the BRCA1 mutation that was passed to me & my identical twin sister from my dad. Going through stage II breast cancer, during a pandemic was a tumultuous journey.⁠⁠

After offering my Virtual Assistant services pro bono for a small breast cancer organization that was near and dear to my heart, I realized that I could turn this into a small business. I figured if I could build myself back up and start a business during this hectic time of uncertainty, I could help other small businesses do the same.

That is how my business name came to fruition: Virtually From The Ground Up. ⁠

This may sound unusual to some, especially if you never had cancer, but I am thankful for my experience. It saved my life and helped me find my true passion. I am also grateful for cancer because it saved the life of my identical twin sister, Mandy.

After seeing me go through 2 weeks of IVF, 8 grueling rounds of chemo, a double mastectomy, surgeries involving skin complications & 25 rounds of radiation; that was enough to convince her that her 80% chance of getting breast cancer in her lifetime just isn’t worth the risk. She is scheduled to get a preventative mastectomy in August.⁠

I can’t stress this enough, Cancer does not discriminate based on age, race or gender. If you notice any change in your breasts at all, go see your health care provider IMMEDIATELY! You may not just be saving your life, but the life of someone you love too.”⁠

Photo: Sammie and her identical twin sister Mandy.