UPDATE: Casey Edwards passed away Monday afternoon, February 18, 2013 after a three year battle with Inflammatory Breast Cancer
Cancer is not just a pile of numbers, or faceless and nameless people in a crowd. Cancer is real, it affects people we love and it is personal.
This lovely young bride noticed her dream wedding dress was not fitting correctly. Something was wrong. Only 29 years old, Casey had been to the doctor a few months earlier. She was worried that one breast had undergone some unexplained changes, so an ultrasound was performed. The doctors were not too concerned, and her condition was chalked up to “fibrocystic changes.” With a sigh of relief, she went back to her wedding plans.
Who worries about serious health threats at 29 years old? For most young women, breast cancer is not even on their radar. They are focused on fulfilling dreams: wrapping up college, launching careers and starting families, and Casey was no different. Or so she thought. But something very different was happening in her body. Casey had Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC), a rare and highly aggressive form of breast cancer, but she didn’t know it yet.
Her nagging concern led to a second visit to the doctor. More testing was ordered, and then she learned the news- – she had IBC and the cancer was stage 4, now in her bones. With no time to waste, she immediately began treatment.
One month later, the day Casey dreamed of arrived– her wedding day. Casey and her husband smiled for the photos, and hope for the couple was high. With her best face forward, she braved the future. Naturally, her smile must have masked at least a tremor of fear. What was to happen to her, fighting a cancer, with a very low survival rate, a cancer that most have never heard of?
Casey was ready and determined to beat this cancer. Although treatment had begun, the cancer continued to show its highly aggressive nature, moving quickly into her brain.
The battle was raging, and Casey then put on a real mask, a mask to hold her head in place as she was given radiation for the large tumors growing in her brain. So, Casey, the bride went from the smiling mask at her wedding to the mask she had to wear to try to save her life.
Why are we telling you this tale?
To scare you? No.
To move you? Yes. To move you to care. To move you into action.
Casey is fighting the most fatal form of breast cancer. There is no such thing as early detection with IBC and it often strikes younger women. Casey has allowed us to share her story with a purpose in mind, one- to educate, two-in hopes you will donate to fund research. She has set a personal goal to raise $50,000 for the next research funding. Does that sound like a lot of money? Not really, when many help, a few bucks at a time, we can do this. Please donate in honor of her fight.
We have not updated from Casey for quite awhile. Honestly, the cancer was really giving her a hard punch, and we were hoping in time for better news. Casey is still fighting, still hoping, she wants you to know what.
From Casey, Towards the end of the summer, I noticed some issues with balance and strength in my legs. I was able to walk with support and the use of a cane or walker. The cancer had spread to the fluid on my brain and spinal column. An Ommaya Reservoir was put into my brain to deliver chemo straight to the source, I was still able to walk, but it was proving to be more difficult. By the beginning of October, I lost complete mobility in my legs. I am now confined to a wheelchair and my life has drastically changed. I can no longer teach and I have to rely on others for nearly every task in life.
Take a look at this video link below for more about Casey
One of Casey’s dreams is to beat this cancer and also fund research and education for IBC. In Casey’s honor, The IBC Network-Inflammatory Breast Cancer Network is proud to be a sponsor of the Third International Inflammatory Breast Cancer Conference. This conference is designed as a forum for the global IBC community of doctors and researchers to address the gaps in our understanding of the etiological factors, molecular phenotypes and therapeutic options for patients with IBC. We hope this important education and training will help address Casey’s desire to save women from the monster called IBC. Will you help us?
(Diagnosed with Triple Negative Inflammatory Breast Cancer 2007 and founder The IBC Network)
Update: December 29th, 2012, Casey enters hospice
From Casey, “Life never goes as planned. Today was tough. Doctors told me that my treatment is no longer effective and they want me to focus on enjoying life and being pain-free. My emotions are all in disarray. I’m fighting to be strong…”
Please remember Casey and all the women like Casey who battle Inflammatory Breast Cancer. No one should have to go into hospice at the age of 33 years old.