My name is Bethany Reeb-Sutherland.
On April 7, 2016, I was told the news no woman wants to hear – “You have breast cancer”. This news came just 2 weeks after having my second child. To treat my stage 3 breast cancer, I did it all – 4 months of chemo, a double mastectomy, and 29 rounds of radiation. Because my cancer’s growth is enhanced by estrogen, I had to receive monthly shots to induce menopause and a daily pill to stop my estrogen production. On April 8, 2019, exactly 3 years after my initial diagnosis, I found out that despite all that I had done my cancer had metastasized to my liver, spine, and lymph nodes, meaning that my breast cancer is stage 4 and terminal. Unfortunately, my story is not unusual – 1 out of every 3 breast cancer survivors will develop metastatic breast cancer. Over 40,000 women die from this disease every year.
Through both my initial diagnosis and my recurrence, my family and friends have been such a tremendous help. From cooking meals, taking care of my now 3 and 6-year-old boys, cleaning the house, and hanging out with me, my family and friends have supported me all the way. My Komen family has also been there to support me throughout my ups and downs of having a breast cancer diagnosis.
I am honored to be a part of the Faces of a Warrior program with the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s Miami/Ft. Lauderdale Affiliate. I initially started volunteering with the Susan G. Komen in March 2017 because I wanted to give back to help all those other women who were going through the same things I just went through. I chose to work with Komen because I believe in their mission to help the women in our community get the assistance they need when going through one of the hardest challenges they will ever have to face in their lives. I know that Komen is looking out for the best interest for those of us who are at risk of or who have breast cancer. To know that 75% of all funds raised remains within our community to help those who cannot afford mammograms or treatment get these important services is inspiring. The remaining 25% of funds raised goes to the national Komen Foundation to support research – this part of Komen has a new meaning to me now that I am living with metastatic breast cancer. It gives me hope knowing that the Susan G. Komen Foundation is the largest non-profit organization to fund breast cancer research, having raised almost $1 billion. This funding has been vital in the fight against not only early stage breast cancer, but also metastatic breast cancer.
Today, there are so many more options for my treatment than there were even 10 years ago all because of Komen’s efforts. This knowledge makes me hopeful that we will be able to one day find a cure for this horrible disease. Although this disease has significantly affected my life, I still know that this is God’s plan for me, and I will keep living my life one day at a time by enjoying my family and friends.