From Volunteer to Patient to Advocate: How a Breast Cancer Survivor’s Life Has Changed Over the Years


A woman without a family history of breast cancer shares how she went from volunteering at breast cancer walks to one day finding herself in the shoes of someone living with the disease.

Kelly Thomas wasn’t expecting to be on this side of the breast cancer experience.

Thomas worked in finance and the company she was employed at regularly partnered with the American Cancer Society. Throughout the years, she routinely volunteered to collect donations for the American Cancer Society during breast cancer walks.

Despite not having a family history of breast cancer, she remained diligent about self-exams but never noticed anything. Everything changed one December morning in 2017, when she sat down to watch TV and felt a large lump on her left breast. Thomas, who was 33 at the time, immediately made an appointment to see her gynecologist who then referred her to get a mammogram.A week later, she was diagnosed with stage 3 triple-negative breast cancer.

In today’s episode of the “Cancer Horizons” podcast, Thomas breaks down her journey from volunteer to patient to advocate, the isolation she felt navigating breast cancer as a younger woman, starting an Instagram account to promote positive stories of patients living with triple-negative breast cancer and more.

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