|Kate Brinkley: A Young Survivor's Perspective|
For most of her 29 years, Kate Hazelrig Brinkley didn’t realize women in their twenties got breast cancer. That changed in February 2009, when she was diagnosed with Stage-2A breast cancer.
Almost immediately, she learned first-hand the importance of funding cancer research. “Just ten years ago, my type of tumor was very difficult to successfully treat,” she explains. However, a huge investment in funding for research led to the development of a drug called Herceptin.
“The drug had such a major impact,” says Kate. “In five years, the death rate for this type of tumor completely turned around. I believe the treatments being developed at UAB for triple-negative breast cancer will have the same type of impact for women with that form of the disease. As a Birmingham native, I’m very proud to have UAB here doing this kind of life-saving work.”
As a member of the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center Young Supporters Board, Kate raises funds to support the research of promising young scientists. She also reaches out to other cancer patients and survivors. “I feel like I know what other patients are going through. Cancer affects patients very differently depending on where they are in their lives,” Kate says.
As a young woman, she is especially grateful for the advances that have been made in fertility preservation for cancer patients—and for having doctors who took the time to talk with her about them. “As it becomes easier to save someone’s life, there can be a greater focus on ensuring that they have the best quality of life,” says Kate. “This is another reason that funding research is so important. There are two million breast cancer survivors in the United States, and having beaten the disease, we’re focused on what comes next.”