“Some women inherit wide hips or freckles; we inherit the breast cancer gene, BRCA1,” writes Teri Fuller on her blog, Cells Gone Wild. Teri was the tenth woman on her mother’s side to be diagnosed with the disease, as a 31-year-old mother of a nine-month-old daughter.
Teri’s own mother died of breast cancer at age 31, when Teri was just four. To stay alive longer for her own daughter,Teri underwent a bilateral mastectomy, chemotherapy and a prophylactic oophorectomy (preventive removal of the ovaries). She has since become a relentless breast cancer advocate.
The Geneva, Illinois resident took an active role in her local chapter of the Young Survival Coalition, a group dedicated to educating and uplifting young women with breast cancer. She serves as a peer mentor for Imerman Angels, which provides one-on-one support for breast cancer patients. She also trained as a lobbyist with the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) and co-founded END Breast Cancer Illinois, a state advocacy group committed to NBCC’s goal to end breast cancer by 2020.
In 2011, Teri posed for The SCAR Project, portraits of young breast cancer survivors and their scars. Teri also signed on as a consumer reviewer for the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program, which undertakes high-risk, high-impact research. An accomplished writer, Teri helped fellow breast cancer survivor Jennifer Smith write two memoirs about her struggle.
“Teri transformed her energy and drive to survive for her daughter into advocacy for others who need hope and inspiration,” says nominator JG Cisneros.
Story told by Jordan Rich of The Jordan Rich Show on WBZ NewsRadio 1030. Visit www.theonehundred.org to learn more and meet the rest of our honorees.