• 3_Makeda-McLuneAge: 38
  • Profession: PR Professional and Fundraiser
    Type of Breast Cancer: Stage 2, Right Invasive Carcinoma
  • Number of Years as a Survivor: 3+ years
  • Relationship to Susan G. Komen: Survivor who received information and help from Komen; member of Komen Speakers Bureau since 2013.

My name is Makeda and I am a breast cancer survivor. My life is about leaps of faith and change. At 35, I decided to go back to school to complete my Bachelors Degree. During my first semester, I decided to utilize the University’s clinic to get a check-up. During my exam, the nurse asked me if I had a family history of cancer. I immediately responded that my paternal grandmother had breast cancer in her 60s, and that because of her from the age of 31 I consciously made it my business to get regular mammograms. Shortly after explaining my family history, the nurse felt a lump and wrote a prescription for me to get a mammogram.

I went to my scheduled appointment where they discovered a mass. I was calm but nervous because I knew right away that it could be breast cancer. I immediately researched breast cancer organizations, found Susan G. Komen, and between my nurse and Komen was given information about breast cancer and affordable care options. I was armed with information, just in case.

That information came in handy – in July 2012 after more tests I was told that the mass was indeed cancerous. Further appointments and tests indicated that I was at stage 2. I was a wreck, but I said I was fighting this head on and began reaching out to friends and family for support. I also created a YouTube page, a Go Fund account, and added everything on my Facebook and Twitter pages. I was off and running!

My surgery to remove my right breast was in August 2012. My final pathology report indicated that it was less than 3% chance of it returning. I had no chemotherapy or radiation, but have been taking one tamoxifen pill a day and will continue to do so for the 3-5 years.

To me, being a breast cancer survivor means pushing forward. Throughout my journey I chose to open my life up to others, which allowed me to face it head on. I didn’t stop pursuing my education, my desire to volunteer, and political activism – I continued to push forward. If I could characterize my breast cancer journey with one phrase, it would definitely be “internal strength.”