While it has certainly been a minute since I've been able to come up for air long enough to write here, please know that your donations to The Cancer Couch have been put to the most effective work possible again this year. The foundation has been churning away working tirelessly on our mission to make MBC a chronic, not deadly, disease! Our Christmas gifts came early this year in that we were stunned and humbled to learn that research WE helped fund resulted in two published papers that came out in the same week! In cancer research time that is absolute lighting speed and these are prestigious publications! Merry Christmas to all of us!!! The publications are featured at the bottom of this page for anyone interested!!
In other news, I remain infinitely grateful to be here to celebrate my 3rd Christmas with cancer with my friends and family. As of this past summer, the last trial I had been on stopped working and my cancer spread quickly throughout my body and into my brain. I actually didn't know if I would even be here this holiday season at the rate it was progressing or if I'd be well enough to enjoy it. However, I am beyond thrilled to share that I am in my fifth month of an absolutely miraculous trial at MSKCC that is still working! It is a drug called Larotrectinib and it works on the NTRK fusion mutation which we found I had through genomic sequencing testing. Less than 1% of cancer tumors have this mutation and it is seen even less frequently in breast cancer, so to say I hit the genetic lottery is an understatement. Not only is this targeted medicine effective - I also have virtually no side effects. This is the hope and future of cancer, but this drug only helps a limited number of people. To find this kind of treatment for others requires much more funding and investigation. That is why we fund research to keep finding meds like this for the next 1%, 5-10% and 20-30%. Little by little we will chip away at these mutations and resistances until we overpower the cancer with precision medicine and immunotherapy for all.
Our donations are outlined on our financial page under the heading "Foundation" but to shorthand it: We were able to give $300,000 to research which was matched to $600,000 in 2018 and we donated $5600 to Angel Funds for MBC patients in financial need. That brings the total impact of this foundation over not even 3 years to ...(drum roll please) 2.3 million put into MBC research and $23,000 to Angel Funds! WOW!
A huge thank you to all of you who help through any kind of support or donations. The support is breathtaking and has already moved the needle with these two major publications coming out in this short time frame that will launch even more extensive studies. Thank you to all who participated in another hugely successful and insanely fun Cancer Beat, the multiple scoops challenges, the Beth Calabotta Swim challenge, many other smaller fundraisers that took place throughout the country and fellow MBC patient Susan Melia put together an amazing "Living Beyond Pink" event in November that brought in over 20k! The Cheshire and Fairfield Mombies (started by Terry Davis) are still dancing their way to research funds. The Bake It Happen campaign, led by sisters Shari Brooks and Stacy Pagan, brought in over $53,000 after the match! Thank you thank you thank you. You are saving countless future lives and families from the devastation of this disease! Someone somewhere funded the first idea of the research and trial that is now saving my life and I know we are doing the same for so many someone elses down the road - maybe even one of you or someone you love!
Congratulations to our incredibly bright and hard-working researchers, their teams, and every one of you who helped fund this groundbreaking work! I was going to make a very lame attempt (with the help of my brilliant research advisors) to update our donors on the research progress you have all funded - and then they went and got published and took that chore off my plate!!! A million thousand thank yous and may your holidays and upcoming year be filled with gratitude, joy, love, happiness and health.
Dr. Nikhil Wagle from Dana-Farber was published in Nature Genetics:
Dr. Sarat Chandarlapaty was published in Cancer Cell:
Have a wonderful Christmas for those who celebrate and the happiest 2019!!!