Marie was 8 weeks pregnant with her first child when she was diagnosed at age 32 with breast cancer.
“Everything became all about the baby. Everything I did for my own well-being always came with a question of how it would affect Sam and his outcome. Now that Sam was born happy and healthy (even after going through chemo with me), finally I get to start to focus on my own well-being and living a long, healthy life.”
An Adjunct Professor at Marquette University, Marie was inspired to become a 2016 Rare Chair Affair Survivor Artist after attending the event last year. She felt the event would be right up her alley since she was a studio art major in college.
Marie says she wants breast cancer research to focus more on later stage cancers. “My best friend was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer two weeks before me. It’s had an extreme effect on the way I see the world. We definitely need to see more research in the field of those with advanced cancer.”
She also wishes for health care systems to respond better to the differences in breast cancer journeys for younger women as compared with older women. “Treatment may be the same” for both groups, she said, “but the emotional parts of the cancer journey are different. There’s so many different fears, especially for someone with a young child or children.”