Inspiring Lives Magazine Spring 2017: Issue 4 - Page 23

pany called Bright Pink, which was doing some things locally with American Eagle, and I spoke to them that first year. I did get some training with them to do some early detection, training young women about breast can- cer, what is your family history, what is your risk, etc. They have a tool online you can use. I went to Chicago. They paid for me to have that training. Then I had some health issues, so then I couldn’t do it. But it was a bless- ing in disguise because I wanted to get more into the thick of things as far as research, and I got a call from Glimmer of Hope.” A pilot program via Allegheny Health Network began with ten women between the ages of 30–40 with breast cancer in early treatment. The integrative program in- cludes massage, acupuncture, dieticians, helping with children, and more. It has gone so well that another group of ten women will start a program soon, and it may expand to other places. Pillar has also shown up on the political side of things. She works with the Tiger Lily Foundation, a breast cancer support, education, and advocacy foundation in Washington, D.C. They brought Pillar on to help speak to Congress about their U.S. Preventative Screening Task Force. At the time, the guideline age of first-time breast cancer screenings was going to be pushed back from 40 to 50 and to only have women screened every two years instead of annually with exceptions being made for higher-risk patients. “So we introduced two pieces of legislation that asked Congress to put a stop to this guideline, so we could have experts speak about the guidelines. Of the people on the task force (who drew up the guidelines), there was not one radiologist, there was not one oncologist, there was not one breast surgeon.” Pillar and the rest of the advocates with Tiger Lily went to Capitol Hill, met with several lawmakers, and within two months, had the bill to stop the new regula- tions passed. What do cancer survivors and advocates like Pillar want people to take away from their stories? The Butler Hospital nurse (yes, through all of this she is still work- ing) sums it up in one word: education. “It’s a matter of each of us educating ourselves and be- ing aware of where our hard-earned money is going, and reaching out to groups and organizations that actually give 100% to metastatic research. 99.9% of breast cancer deaths are from metastatic cancer. That’s where we need to get research! You know we’re getting pretty good at this early detection stuff, trying to figure things out and trying to maintain people, but still, nothing has changed in 40 years as far as how many go metastatic.” n For more information on breast cancer organizations that support metastatic research—studying the spread of cancer cells throughout the body—please visit the following web- sites: • metavivor.org • symbolofthecure.com • tigerlilyfoundation.org SPRING 2017 INSPIRING LIVES 23