Monica Hill moved to Maplewood three years ago with her husband and daughter. “Last year, I felt a lump in my breast and was immediately diagnosed with Metastatic Stage IV Breast Cancer,” she told Village Green. “The average survival rate is 24-36 months.”
Since being diagnosed, Hill said she has learned a lot about the disease. “One of the things that was horrifying to me was that of all the money spent on Breast Cancer only about 5% goes to funding research for treatment of metastatic disease and that is what people die from.”
As a result, she has become determined to make a change. “I joined the board of METAvivor Research and Support Inc. and hold an annual fundraising campaign called ‘Be Bold and Behold.’“
The campaign’s culminating event is a gala that will be held on February 1, 2019 in Livingston, NJ. “Last year we raised $110,000,” said Hill, “and we are hoping to do even more this year. We are honoring five young women in North Jersey who are all living with this unimaginable reality.”
It was the summer of 2017, I was 33 years old and my daughter had just turned 2. I felt a pain in my left breast. I touched the pain point and felt a hard lump. I have no history of breast cancer in my family and I was otherwise healthy.
The day after feeling the lump, I went to see a midwife who urged me to go right away for a mammogram and ultrasound. The series of events (tests, scans, biopsies) confirmed that the lump was a malignant Ductal Carcinoma In-Situ (DCIS) ER+, PR+, Her 2 Neu-. Breast Cancer in my milk duct.
I was making plans to freeze my embryos (since treatment would likely lead to sterility), start chemotherapy and follow with surgery.
My oncologist asked me about other symptoms I was having and I told her about a hip pain that I attributed to carrying around my toddler and training for a 10K. She ordered a PET scan which revealed liver metastasis.
I remember sitting in an exam room holding my sister’s hand and trembling from head to toe when my oncologist said, “This changes your diagnosis [to stage 4] and your treatment plan. Your cancer is no longer curable. There are treatments but you’ll need to stop your fertility preservation and start therapy right away. Pregnancy is no longer …”
The last words I heard before going cold. Her mouth continued to move but I heard nothing and could not move. The only thing playing in my mind were images of my daughter, my baby. She needs her mama! How could everything change in an instant?
Eventually, I came back into the present and started processing the news. The days and weeks that followed were filled with the most incredible outpouring of support from my family, co-workers, friends and neighbors who made it clear they were #TEAMMONICA and I was not alone. With this army of support, I feel empowered to do what I can, while I can to BE BOLD and BEHOLD and raise money for metastatic breast cancer (MBC).
• Metastatic Breast Cancer is the cancer that kills and yet it only receives less than 7% of breast cancer funding.
• Despite earlier detection, the number of people who die every year from Metastatic Breast Cancer has not changed in the last 40 years.
• The average survival is 24-36 months. We need to do more.
With a lot of help, we are running our 2nd annual fundraising campaign based on a mantra that has helped me get through difficult times called, “Be Bold and Behold.”
On February 1, 2019, we will have a an amazing event in Livingston, NJ with over 400 attendees that will give people a reason to party with purpose. This incredible evening of scrumptious food, five hours of premium open bar, delectable sweet treats, music, dancing, silent auction, games and more that will be sure to delight guests with the goal of raising money for MBC research and honoring 5 local young women currently living with this complicated and devastating disease.
To date, my cancer continues to progress and I’m hopeful that my current chemotherapy regimen will slow progression. Unfortunately, the nature of this disease is progression and the only way to slow down progression is having good treatment options. This is why I raise money for METAvivor. We will only be able to fund this critical research with the help of supporters like you.
METAvivor Research and Support Inc. is a 501C-3 non-profit organization dedicated to funding research for Stage IV metastatic breast cancer (MBC) and to transition MBC from a terminal illness to a controlled, chronic condition. It is the only organization that solely funds MBC research through a scientific peer review process. This research will enhance the understanding of metastatic breast cancer, and help develop greatly needed therapeutic options to combat this complicated disease. Since its founding in 2009, METAvivor has put 100% of donations into its peerreviewed research grant program. The METAvivor Research Program was established with the singular goal of funding research to end death from metastatic breast cancer. METAvivor has a 4 Star Charity Navigator Rating and a Platinum Guidestar Rating for their highest commitment to transparency and ethics.
Be Bold and Behold: https://beboldandbehold.com
METAVivor Website: http://www.metavivor.org
METAVIVOR RESEARCH AND SUPPORT (EIN 37-1578088) ANNAPOLIS, MD