On Wednesday night, Rochester’s landmarks are among more than 225 across the country that will light up in metastatic breast cancer colors pink, green and teal. The event is called Light Up MBC.
The effort is to raise awareness and fund the fight against advanced breast cancer. A resident of Fairport, NY, Andrea Reynolds is a New York Ambassador for Light Up MBC. The mother of two was only 31 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Five years after finishing treatment, the cancer came back and had spread to his bones. Now she is fighting hard for research dollars to save her life and thousands like her.
“I think the culture around breast cancer has turned all pink, put pink on everything,” Reynolds said. “People think they claim their hearts are in the right place, but they don’t realize where the money is going or sometimes things with pink on them really don’t go anywhere. It’s just a marketing tool. So it is very important that the people who really want to support breast cancer – pretty much everyone – put their money and support in a place that will be more effective. “
While only 5% of breast cancer research funding is spent on treating metastatic breast cancer, the disease accounts for 98% of breast cancer deaths. If you would like to donate to research for MBC, you can donate to METAvivor, the nonprofit group that raises funds exclusively for metastatic breast cancer research.
The Breast Cancer Coalition’s efforts to raise awareness about metastatic breast cancer are the oldest in New York State. In addition to providing educational and psychosocial support, the BCCR also offers grants to local breast cancer researchers.
To donate to BCCR, click here.
There is no cure for metastatic breast cancer. The average life expectancy is three years. But that doesn’t mean it’s a hopeless journey. The story of Palmyra resident Pam Polashenski is proof of this. It seems to be the image of health. The 52-year-old sports doctor is passionate about volleyball, hiking, boating and in her spare time, she loves rappelling through waterfalls in Costa Rica.
But in October 2018, she learned that the breast cancer she had tamed a year before was back – spreading with manic virulence throughout her back and bones. She discovered it just an hour before a volleyball game.
“And on the team there was my husband and one of my daughters,” Polashensky said. “And all of my girls were local at the time, so I asked the other two to come join us for a drink where we play volleyball. And we kind of went into an unused room and I told them . “
That day marked the start of a multi-year effort to find drugs to keep cancer at bay. In the summer of 2021, the chemo to keep her cancer at bay stopped working.
“And I was preparing both for the end of my life, but I was also kind of defending getting my hands on this drug that my oncologist said could be a game-changer,” Polashenski said.
The drug is effective in lung cancer patients with a rare genetic mutation, a mutation that Polashenski shares. This drug has never been tested before on other types of cancer. Initially, his insurer refused to pay for the drug, which costs $ 18,000 per month. And the manufacturer of the drug refused to provide it for free.
“And that happened for a week, when I was in really bad shape. I started getting oxygen 24/7. I couldn’t walk without help. My daughters m ‘were helping to dress me. It looked bad, “Polashensky said. noted.
And then, in a last-minute decision, his insurer finally agreed to pay for the drug that would turn out to be just miraculous.
“So I just remember Monday – I started it on Thursday – a fog rising from my head. We checked my oxygen levels and I didn’t need oxygen anymore so I was able to m ‘cleared it and I walked. “
And weeks after getting the drug, she was doing four mile hikes and sliding down slides with her nephew at Seabreeze.
It is important to note that Pam has a rare genetic mutation and this new drug is specific to her mutation. But her story serves as proof that the answers lie in a lab with a researcher who has the funds to find them.