triple negative breast cancer day: meet our champions

The Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation has enlisted the help of some exceptional women, each one personally affected by TNBC, to serve as our official TNBC Day Champions. Each will help spread the word about 3.3.15 and help recruit and assist event organizers. Each Champion has joined this effort for her own reasons, but all our Champions are here to make a difference in the TNBC community. We thank these remarkable individuals for leading the charge to make our second TNBC Day a big success.

Tracy Bunch

Tracy Bunch
Oncology Pharmaceutical Sales Specialist and 13-Year TNBC Survivor/VA

“I am excited to be a TNBC Day Champion because it allows me the opportunity to educate the community and women living with Triple Negative Breast Cancer about the disease and its treatments. It also allows me to offer support and hope for women as we use this day 3.3.15 to let the world know that we are here we have a voice and that we deserve more and better treatment options.”

As a 13 year TNBC survivor, I am thrilled and inspired by the work of the TNBC Foundation for its commitment and dedication to women diagnosed with TNBC. The 2015 TNBC Day activities will be a day of education, support and inspiration and will bring us all one-step closer to finding a cure.

View Tracy Bunch’s Voices of Impact profile on Komen.org

Ricki Fairley

Ricki Fairley/MD
Mom, Marketing Maven and Two-Year TNBC Survivor

“I am honored to be a TNBC Champion. As a very blessed, two-year Stage 3A Triple Negative Breast Cancer Survivor, I am on a mission to build awareness and spread the word. Breast Cancer stopped me in my tracks as a multi-tasking, miracle-working, rule the world, do-it-all career woman and mom. It gave me a temporary pause so I could reinvent myself and redefine my priorities. Triple Negative Breast Cancer is impacting young women and young women of color at crazy rates. I want to make sure that women know that they need to be aware of the risk of breast cancer years before the recommended mammogram age of 40. I was blessed to be able to make decisions to Choose Life. I want others to have the same blessing. Hopefully, my voice in this quest will make an impact.”

Lori Flowers

Lori Flowers/CA
Co-Founder of Triple Step Toward the Cure and Surviving Sister of Sheryl

“I will never again argue about clothes or laugh with the one person who got all of my jokes, and always let me tag along even though we were seven years apart because three years ago, TNBC claimed my beautiful, brilliant sister, Sheryl. But as she often said, “you have to bloom where you are planted”, meaning there is something to be gained from every experience. One of the ways I have ‘bloomed’ is by co-founding Triple Step Toward the Cure®, a non-profit organization that seeks to promote awareness and education about TNBC, while directly supporting women suffering from the disease.

I am proud to stand with the TNBC Foundation as a Champion in the fight to increase awareness of TNBC so that viable, targeted treatment options will be developed and one day, a cure. All the pink ribbons in the world won’t bring my sister back. However, our collective efforts as champions and advocates WILL make a difference in the lives of countless others and I can’t think of a better way to honor Sheryl’s memory. Join us today!”

http://www.triplesteptowardthecure.org/

Annie Goodman

Annie Goodman/NY
Television Producer, Blogger and TNBC Survivor

“Soon after my breast cancer diagnoses in 2012, I learned that I was triple negative. I had already been active with the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation when I learned that I was also a BRCA1 mutation carrier. I suspected I would be a carrier, but to see the paper in black and white was still a shock. It carried so many implications for my health and for my life goals- and I was only 31 years old. It seemed like a whole lot to deal with. The Executive Director of TNBC Foundation was accompanying me to my chemo appointment the day I got the genetic tests back. We sat and talked about what it meant, what the implications might be for my siblings, and where this new news fit in the scheme of all the bad news I had received. It was so helpful to have a sounding board with me at that time.

Since then, I’ve decided to write a blog focused on BRCA mutations for FOXNews, my employer. I’m writing the column on BRCA1 in hopes of reaching other women who receive this news–how to handle it, how to make decisions when given this news (on getting a mastectomy, removing ovaries, etc), and how important it is to share it with your family, so they can also start getting early screenings for cancer–whether they’re male or female.

Having great resources and research for BRCA-1 carriers is crucial, and I’m helping in any way I can. By being a Triple Negative Breast Cancer Day Champion, I hope to get the word out about this disease and help the TNBC Foundation continue their important work on behalf of the triple negative breast cancer community.”

Linda Jasperse/VT and Carol Lautenbach

Linda Jasperse/VT and Carol Lautenbach/MI
Proud Sisters of TNBC Day Visionary, Lori Redmer

TNBC Day began when our sister Lori Redmer was in the midst of her own TNBC journey—both personally and as Executive Director of the TNBC Foundation. In true Lori fashion, she soldiered on, establishing a day set aside to honor and remember those with TNBC and to build a community of support in neighborhoods, towns, cities, and states. Doing so brought together people who were united by a drive to fund and find a cure. In 2013 Linda and I found local business sponsors who were a part of our daily lives—for me, Go Java, my morning coffee stop in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and for Linda, Elm Street Market, the corner store near her home in Bennington, Vermont. Both owners, Tom Sommers and Ted Cutsumpas, were eager to help the cause, donating time, space, and goods to the March event. In addition to raising several thousand dollars, the events helped connect all of us to others who had stories to tell, providing support and encouragement throughout our communities. Enjoying good local food, building a community, supporting others, and making a difference drove Lori throughout her life. Our families, Linda, and I were privileged to be a part of the effort. 3/3/13 was just two days after our sister’s 46th birthday. We plan to support TNBC Day until a cure is found—and to celebrate Lori’s life.

Dana and Lexi Klebanow

Dana and Lexi Klebanow/NY
Founders of Carol’s Crusade for a Cure Foundation (CCFAC)

“We are very excited to be TNBC Day Champions this year!” Raising awareness about triple negative breast cancer is a cause extremely important to these two sisters. In 2013, Dana and Lexi founded Carol’s Crusade for a Cure Foundation (CCFAC) in memory of their incredible mother. Battling triple negative breast cancer for over eight years, Carol was a true fighter and had an absolute determination to fight and win. She courageously fought this aggressive disease while always comforting, protecting, and uplifting everyone around her. CCFAC honors Carol’s life and the values she possessed while continuing her fight to help find a cure for triple negative breast cancer. CCFAC’s annual fundraiser, Mani-for-a-Cure, promotes Triple Negative Breast Cancer Day and benefits the TNBC Foundation. Mani-for-a-Cure has been supporting Triple Negative Breast Cancer Day since its inception and we look forward to continuing to help spread awareness and raise funds this year!

For more information please visit Carol’s Crusade for a Cure and Mani-for-a-Cure 2015

Sara Kouten

Sara Kouten/NJ
Miracle Mom, Patient Navigator and TNBC Survivor

“When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008, I did not realize that all breast cancers were not the same. Nine months later I learned what triple negative breast cancer really was, and that I was at a greater risk. The Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation offered me support and information. For me, knowledge is power, and when it was coupled with the support of other TNBC survivors on the forum of the TNBCF website, I was able to fight with everything I had. I believe I was given sub-par treatment at the onset of my diagnosis because at that time, not all members of the medical community treated tnbc any differently than any other breast cancer. It is my mission not only to fundraise to support research for tnbc, but to also raise awareness and to educate everyone, including the medical community, about triple negative breast cancer.”

“Courage is fear that has said her prayers.”
– Author Unknown

“Hope is like a bird that senses the dawn and carefully starts to sing while it is still dark.”
– Anonymous

Shelley Marshall

Shelley Marshall/GA
TNBC Fighter and 1-Year Survivor

My world changed in late September 2013, at age 39, when I learned I had breast cancer. I had no family history, soon learned I had no genes that are known to contribute to breast cancer, and was otherwise healthy. It seemed to strike me out of no where, unexpected and unwelcome. This was something that I naively thought would never happen to me. But it did. And I had to face it. Later I learned I had a dreaded subtype of breast cancer (there are subtypes? Who knew? I sure didn’t !)). Triple Negative.

From that very first, horrifying moment, there was a fighter in me that was ready to wage a serious war. What weapons do I have? I soon learned about my initial treatment options – chemo, surgery, possible radiation. But I also learned that with triple negative, that is where the treatment ends. Until research can identify what triggers TNBC and then how to combat that trigger, those of us with TNBC are very limited in what we can do to fight it after treatment ends. So why is TNBC day and the TNBC Foundation important to me? I want more weapons! I can’t describe the relief and immediate allegiance I felt when I discovered that there was a Foundation dedicated just to TNBC, funding research specifically for this subtype. It felt very personal and gives me much hope.

One of my favorite quotes is “An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backwards. When life is dragging you back with difficulties, imagine it is going to launch you into something great.” It’s the inspiration for my blog that chronicles my journey – Launching Arrows – (launchingarrows.wordpress.com). My hope is to raise awareness and shed light for others newly diagnosed with this awful disease. I’ve met so many great people and fellow survivors through my journey, and have been more than blessed to have the support from family, friends, my care team, and even people I don’t know. I consider the TNBC Foundation to be one of those blessings. Thank you!!

https://launchingarrows.wordpress.com/

Roxanne Martinez

Roxanne Martinez/TX
Mom, Social Media Whiz and TNBC Survivor

“Diagnosed with TNBC at age 30 and while pregnant in November 2010, I quickly channeled my inner strength into fighting my battle for two. My journey immediately fueled a new passion to help other women diagnosed with breast cancer, educate others about the disease and raise funds for lifesaving research. Now cancer-free and a mom to a healthy baby girl, I am excited to be a TNBC Champion. Being a TNBC Champion allows me to channel my energy and drive into helping the TNBC Foundation increase awareness and raise funds for research to find targeted treatments for this devastating disease. Please join me in this fight!”

Natalia Muñoz

Natalia Muñoz/FL
Mom, Activist and Five-Year TNBC Survivor

“I am excited about being a TNBC Champion because I want to increase awareness about TNBC and also spread the word about the Foundation which is such an amazing source of support for people like me whose lives have been touched by this disease. We need to find a cure and for that we need to keep funding research and spreading the word about TNBC.”

Cristy Norwood

Cristy Norwood/AK
Proud Warrior, Mom of Five and TNBC Survivor

“I can’t begin to tell you just how much the TNBC Foundation and my TNBC family mean to me. I so want to share my story with EVERYONE that I can! Those that are going through it, those who have been through it, those going through some other struggle in their lives… I want to show them and share with them that God is with us every step of the way at our side. Hand it over and he guides us through. I want to show them and share with them that with dignity & grace and faith you can stand strong through triple negative breast cancer. Be courageous and know you are a WARRIOR CHICK!!! I am so excited to be a TNBC Day Champion and look forward to raising awareness and funds to help the TNBC Foundation fulfill its mission.”

Melissa Paskvan

Melissa Paskvan/OH
Blogger and TNBC Survivor

My name is Melissa Paskvan and I was diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer at age 41. During my treatments I started journaling, documenting my journey through writing and photos which was very therapeutic for me as I coped with my diagnosis.

My writings and content continues today through my blog, “Triple Negative Breast Cancer, I Won’t Back Down!”, reaching out to women across the globe, to give them hope and strength to fight; and to provide resources to educate my readers about TNBC.

You see, this disease is not about me, it’s about us… all of us are trying to make sense of this TNBC sub-type as new research emerges only to learn that this disease is even more complicated and a targeted treatment is yet to be discovered. As a 5 year survivor, my fight is not over until all of us TNBC sisters are safe. The fear of recurrence is real, me and my TNBC sisters all fear it. I’ve seen too many TNBC sisters depart after exhausting many clinical trials and a fierce tiring battle. That is why I am so passionate about keeping TNBC awareness in the forefront and continue to encourage breast self-exams as early detection is critical in TNBC survival. I am a huge supporter of the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation and am very grateful for their continued dedication to all survivors and families as a credible source of information, support network and for their commitment to funding scientists researching Triple Negative Breast Cancer.

I am honored to join The Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation as a TNBC Day Champion, as I focus my energy to educate young women on the importance of breast health; and efforts to raise funds to support research in need of finding our targeted therapy. Please join us in making an impact today! Embrace hope, Hope for more tomorrows…

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much”
– Helen Keller

April Samuels

April Samuels/TX
4-year TNBC Survivor, Professional Drummer, and Founder of Breast Cancer Can Stick It!

I remember that day – Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 9:00 a.m. – when I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer. When I got the call, I was scared and alone, just me and my then 13 year old dog. I remember looking at my furry friend, Daisy, and thinking: “she could out-live me.” I scoured the internet looking for information about this “triple negative” form of breast cancer that I’d heard nothing of – some of the first things I found back then were alarming “…triple negative, considered one of the most incurable…” I was terrified. I kept searching the Internet until I found the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation. Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation (TNBCF) served as an integral part of navigating the early days after my diagnosis. I was grateful for the information TNBCF provided to me during such a crucial time. I realized then that I was not alone; that I could survive. Later I would learn my triple negative breast cancer was found at one of the earliest stages possible. Stage one. After a double mastectomy, port install (suffering a punctured lung in the process) and four months of chemotherapy, my doctor declared me “CURED”.

Since the moment of my diagnosis, I felt the incredible urge to do something. As a professional drummer of many years, I came up with the slogan “Breast Cancer Can Stick It!” – a slogan whose logo features a tough chick with pink streaked hair behind a drum set. I started selling shirts – raising funds in the fight against breast cancer. Quickly, the slogan grew from simple t-shirts into a full-fledged nonprofit. In 2014, Breast Cancer Can Stick It! held an online Webcast fundraiser in honor of Triple Negative Breast Cancer Day. Triple Negative Breast Cancer Day is a much-needed, unique day to focus the breast cancer fight on a rare, highly aggressive disease that requires special attention. The Webcast featured myself, my mother, and my “mentor” triple negative breast cancer sister, Erin. Erin was the FIRST women with TNBC I met after being diagnosed. We raised $2,000 in 2 hours with just some impromptu discussions and Q&A from Webcast attendees. We will continue to fight breast cancer through Breast Cancer Can Stick It! and will support the TNBC Day movement!

I’m honored and blessed to be a TNBC Day Champion with these other wonderful crusaders. On March 3, 2015, TNBC Day, my hope is that we garner attention, spread awareness and raise funds in this fight against TNBC! Together, we will make a difference!

Founder & Executive Director
Breast Cancer Can Stick It! Foundation, Inc.
tel 214.597.2426

www.breastcancercanstickit.org
facebook.com/breastcancercanstickit

Please support our corporate champion. Their generosity and leadership moves us forward and makes TNBC Day possible.

Genentech

Celgene

Biomarin