As part of my normal blog routine and to clear my mind, I often scroll through Facebook posts before I begin writing. As I did this again today, I lingered on a Susan G. Komen post and stopped dead in my tracks.
Something I’d known was going to happen for several months has finally become a reality. It’s a very sad time for all breast cancer survivors, advocates and friends. Bridget Spence passed away.
Bridget was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer at age 21. In the past eight years, she fought the bravest fight anyone could. She enrolled in clinical trial after clinical trial; suffered through treatment after treatment and surgery upon surgery, just trying to beat the ugly, mean, unfair disease of breast cancer.
Bridget fought a very public fight. She was an avid blogger and a spokesperson for all young survivors. Her final endeavor was to partner with Susan G. Komen for the Cure to help educate the public about clinical trials. Through her eloquent words and heartfelt writing, she inspired many young women to keep fighting, including me.
Last October she wrote that she was once again humbled by her cancer. This time, the “sneaky beast had gotten right to the heart of the matter,” and had metastasized to her heart. She had more surgery and enrolled in another clinical trial, bravely fighting harder, and with more perseverance, than most could ever endure. To her credit, she never complained, and was always grateful for more time, the promise of health and unending hope.
Finally, in December, she wrote her last blog. She asked her faithful followers to let her go. She had only one request, “Please, don’t forget about me.”
Just this week, I formed my team, Amy G’s Besties for Breasties, for the WV Susan G. Komen Walk for the Cure. Although I’m once again grateful and thankful that I’m healthy enough to walk, I must admit this event is always emotional. Seeing the hundreds of survivors, and those still going through treatment, is a painful reminder of my personal struggle.
This year will be different. Komen provided funding to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute to study an emerging cancer pathway and form a clinical trial. Bridget was enrolled in in this trial. It bought her more time with her family and friends and allowed her to live longer than her doctors expected.
This year as I walk with my team, I’ll not only be walking for Komen, but also for Bridget. I’ll hold my head a little higher and walk faster. I’ll go the extra mile, so to speak, to raise more money for my fellow fighters and survivors.
Although I only “knew” Bridget through various media channels, like so many other young survivors, we were sisters in this fight against a horrible disease. Bridget was an inspiration to survivors of all ages, and I can say with absolute certainty, I will never forget her.