The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation hosted its 26th annual Race for the Cure fundraiser this past weekend, raising more than $2 million to fund local programs that provide breast health education, screenings and treatments.
And for 34-year-old cancer survivor Brandy Gum, that's no small feat.
In 2014, while 36 weeks pregnant, Gum was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC), a rare pregnancy-related form of breast cancer. This infrequent type of cancer is often misdiagnosed because it's usually linked to the pregnant patient's bodily changes in preparation for lactation. It took several visits to the doctor, two different ultrasounds and a strong gut feeling to realize something wasn’t right.
After having a double mastectomy and a hysterectomy at MD Anderson, Gum got involved with Komen, seeing the real value of sharing her experience with both healthy young women and current cancer patients. Over the last two years that she’s participated in the race, she’s raised around $10,000 for cancer research.
“I love being around this community of survivors," says Gum. "You want to see these women that have been through the same [experience] as you, and here they are 10 to 20 years later. It gives you so much hope that you’re going to make it to the next step.”
Thanks to the Komen Foundation, Gum has an outlet to share her story of survival and spread awareness for young women to get checked on a regular basis.
“I just want young people my age to be aware that this can happen, and if you find yourself in this situation, be very proactive," says Gum. "Really push to be checked, and you'll be your best advocate.”
During Breast Cancer Awareness Month, donate to Susan G. Komen's Houston chapter, which funds research, cancer screenings, treatments and education in the Bayou City area.