‘I Feel as Though I Know Her:’ How Connectedness and Support for Patients With Metastatic Breast Cancer Travels Across Social Media

Metastatic Breast Cancer Heroes™, CURE® Metastatic Breast Cancer Heroes™ 2021 Essay Book, Volume 1,

A metastatic breast cancer survivor honors another survivor whom she was inspired by through social media for her contributions to helping others who have lost their hair during cancer treatment and spreading positivity.

Lara Macgregor is an amazing young woman and patient with metastatic breast cancer who has inspired me and many others through her bright and hopeful outlook. Not only has she used her energy to support her teenage sons, but she has also poured her efforts into establishing a thriving nonprofit organization and spends time sharing her metastatic breast cancer story through blogs, Instagram and Facebook. She’s even writing a book.

Hope Scarves is Lara’s organization, dedicated to providing scarves to patients with cancer who lose their hair. I lost my hair before Hope Scarves was founded, but I support the need to help those experiencing the effects of chemotherapy treatments. When I donated to Hope Scarves a few years ago, I received a thank you note from Lara. She promoted her organization’s motto: “To live life over cancer.”

I’ve never actually met Lara, but she is my social media friend, posting often. I feel as though I know her and I share her hope and her pain. Although we both received our diagnoses in 2007, our paths have diverged. Mine was metastatic inflammatory breast cancer, and I have thrived for over 14 years because I respond well to a treatment called Herceptin (trastuzumab). I fully recognize the gravity of the metastatic breast cancer diagnosis

Lara’s was a different kind of breast cancer that was treated but returned as metastatic in 2014. Since then, she has been on many treatments that worked for a while, until they didn’t.

At this point, Lara is running out of options. She is madly trying to be a good mother and wife, transition her nonprofit to a new leader, keep her social media community informed and supportive and finish her book.

Lara has been inspirational to so many in this new world of sharing on social media. In spite of the terrible trials she has experienced, she remains positive and hopeful, and shares this perspective with others. She has brought much light and attention to the cause of metastatic breast cancer.

Lara’s situation scares me because it is likely a future that I, and many other patients with metastatic breast cancer, will face at some point. Yet Lara has handled this situation with grace and energy, positivity and hope, which has created a special relationship that is truly unique. Lara has many fans and friends who hope, right along with her, that the next treatment she receives will be the one to save her.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Lara MacGregor died in January 2022 before this book went to print. Our thoughts go out to her family and friends.