I was diagnosed with an advanced stage aggressive breast cancer on the afternoon of my 43rd birthday. After many doctors’ appointments for opinions on treatment and prognosis, and appointment after appointment, I was given the same prognosis: Poor.

I was not certain which class party for my 3 and 5 year old boys would be my last but it appeared to be imminent.

I built my “A team” of physicians and started a local clinical trial for my chemotherapy.
After two years of chemotherapy, surgery and five weeks of radiation, I felt like I could start to breathe again. Two months later, my much younger friend with the same type of breast cancer learned her cancer had metastasized. I immediately went to the internet in hopes to find her a clinical trial. Although I was not able to find her a trial, I did find a Phase I breast cancer vaccine trial that could possibly help me at the Mayo Clinic.

While trying to comprehend the language of the trial, the logistics of frequently getting to an institution a few states away, and the overwhelming thoughts of how we were possibly going to be able to afford it, I found Lazarex Cancer Foundation.

I knew the moment I spoke to their Patient Navigator and then to their Patient Services Manager, I was going to somehow make it into this promising trial.

With the never ending support of my employer and managers at United Airlines, and with the assistance from Lazarex, I successfully completed the two year breast cancer vaccine clinical trial in Minnesota. I will still try and go to the Mayo Clinic once a year for their care but it no longer will have anything to do with the spectacular trial I was in. “Was in”... wow!

crsty mattey fam lThe trial I participated in has been so promising it has since moved onto Phase II. We had 21 participants in our Phase I portion and we all had the same type of aggressive high recurrent-risk breast cancer. We are all currently disease free! What a blessing.

It is a wonder to me that United Airlines, who afforded me so much flexibility, compassion and support during my diagnosis and treatment, is a grantor to the Lazarex Cancer Foundation - the very foundation that afforded me the opportunity to participate in such an exciting trial.

I am forever grateful to so many – especially United Airlines and to Lazarex Cancer Foundation.

I’d love to write more but I have class party snack ideas I am planning for my now 8 and 10 year old boys!