Susan G. Komen Virginia Blue Ridge gets grant to make web series about metastatic breast cancer


ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) – A Lynchburg area woman is sharing her story with metastatic breast cancer as part of a new web series for Susan G. Komen Virginia Blue Ridge.

One in eight women are diagnosed with breast cancer, according to Susan G. Komen. Of those 30 percent become metastatic, meaning the cancer spreads to other parts of their bodies which can be terminal.

The web series will have some personal accounts from people fighting the cancer, but it will also have local doctors talking about treatment options, and even life insurance specialists who offer advice on making final arrangements.

One of the personal accounts comes from Leecy Fink.

“Once you’ve been diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer you kind of just wait for it to rear it’s ugly head again,” said Fink.

Fink was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013. She was treated, but later found out it spread to her brain. She had two brain surgeries and had to undergo even more treatment, but it didn’t stop there.

“At that point, my cancer had metastasized to multiple other locations in my body so I was facing terminal breast cancer, stage four breast cancer,” Fink said.

She thought she wouldn’t live to see her five children grow up but she says she’s been blessed to see three of them graduate.

“I don’t know if I’ll be there for every special moment, and I’ve missed lots of things because I’ve been so sick, but to be there for those big milestones is what’s important to me.”

After years of chemotherapy, her cancer stopped growing.

“I’ve been blessed with a couple of years here of good health and I’m back to somewhat of a normal life, but I still have this terminal diagnoses So that’s why it was so important to me to be part of this grant with Susan G. Komen.”

She worked with Susan G. Komen Virginia Blue Ridge, to apply for a grant to make a web series to answer questions other metastatic patients might have.

“Things that can’t be answered by reading a book, but they can actually be answered by doctors, by patients, by experts in a lot of fields.”

They decided to do a web series instead of a conference so it would be more accessible to cancer patients.

“The reality is that people who are living with metastatic breast cancer are usually too sick to go to a conference or when they are feeling well they’re at the doctor getting treatment or maybe they’re spending time with their families,” said Fink.

Susan G. Komen Virginia Blue Ridge Community Engagement Manager Elizabeth Zimmerman says the area is rural and people can’t always make it to things like a conference.

“So with a web series people who can’t travel for 2 or 3 hours from rural southwest Virginia to Roanoke, it allows them to still access this information,” said Zimmerman.

The grant money was for a little more than $18,000.

Leecy says even she learned from the series. Someone asked a question she always had in the back of her mind and she finally got clarity on it from this.

The first two episodes go live Sunday on National Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day. Then one goes live every Monday until all of the 12 part series is out. Click here for more information.


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