Join us for the Great Pink Run with Glanbia and help research a cure for breast cancer!
October 5, 2019 at Diversey Harbor
Patient Supporters- Their Stories
- Age: 50
- Diagnosis: stage II triple-negative breast cancer
- Two-time breast cancer survivor
Alicia Cook of Chicago, Illinois was just 34 years old in 2003 when she was first diagnosed with stage II triple-negative breast cancer. The same year, an older sister was also diagnosed, and a second sister would later be diagnosed and lost her battle to the disease. All women carry the BRCA gene, which put them at a higher risk for breast and ovarian cancer. This is her story:
I discovered the lump while taking a shower. I knew that I had a mammogram scheduled in a month, so I waited.
Having lost my mom, grandmother and aunt to breast and ovarian cancer I knew it was cancer. I was afraid that I wouldn’t live to see my young children, ages 4 and 2, graduate from grammar school. I prayed and cried, and then I decided that I was going to do whatever was necessary to survive for my children. I am pleased to say they have both graduated from high school and started college. The realization that chemo would take six-months was overwhelming. I decided not to focus on the treatment but to think of each treatment getting me closer to survival.
I learned to become an advocate for my own health. I researched my condition and I asked questions of my doctor. At the time of my initial diagnosis, I worked for a national cancer cooperative research group. I was able to get advice from some to the top doctors in the field.
I completed all of my treatment through a clinical trial. It was an MRI in 2012, made possible through the clinical trial, that found a recurrence of the cancer, which led to another lumpectomy.
I credit my survival with being able to take part in a clinical trial. It meant I was getting the best care possible at the time. My sister wasn’t so fortunate. Insurance issues kept her from participating in clinical trials and getting the help she needed.
I have testified on the floor of the State and Federal Legislatures on the need for more funding for breast and cervical cancer screenings, an advocate for clinical trials, and am an active volunteer for multiple breast cancer-related organizations, including the Metropolitan Breast Cancer Task Force, UChicago Medicine, American Cancer Society, Avon Breast Cancer Walk and Susan B. Komen. I am passionate about promoting breast cancer awareness and prevention within the African-American community.
I believe research is only hoping to prevent breast cancer and cure those diagnosed or living with cancer, and that is why I support Research A Cure and the Great Pink Run.
My advice for other women fighting breast cancer is, you always have to be strong; it’s ok to cry. Then take a deep breath, face one treatment at a time, and celebrate each victory. You will get through it.
Run for them!
With 1 in 8 women developing the disease in their lifetime, everybody knows someone that has been affected, whether a family relative, friend, or member within the community – making it all the more important to continue investing in research to help transform breast cancer from often being a fatal disease to a long term treatable illness.
Thank you to our partners