GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — It's been quite a year for Katie Edick, in fact you could say it's one she didn't expect to see. "I have my two mantras: 'I choose joy' and 'I have faith over fear.'"
Katie is in her fourth year of living with metastatic breast cancer, "It's pretty amazing because the average life expectancy for living with metastatic breast cancer is 2 to 3 years," she explained.
The is no cure for metastatic breast cancer, so Katie is cherishing every moment of the extra time she's been given, "I got to see my son turn 16 and in three years he's going to graduate high school and I pray that I'm here for that moment," she said. "And my daughter is 13, so I want to see her get her license."
Metastatic breast cancer is breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body most often the bones, lungs, liver or brain. Thirty percent of women diagnosed with breast cancer will become metastatic.
Thanks to some breakthrough treatments that are improving the survival rate for metastatic breast cancer, Katie is getting a little extra time, "One of the medications I'm currently on was just approved by the FDA in 2014. So there's not a lot of research to see how long women are surviving with this new medication."
Right now, it's working. And while Katie is feeling healthy, she's using her time to raise awareness. "Sometimes you get in that mindset as to 'Why me? Why was I dealt this hand?'" Katie said. "And I decided to say 'Why not me?'"
Only 5% of breast cancer research goes towards finding a cure for metastatic breast cancer, so Katie calls her representatives and attends conferences. She is willing to do what it takes to help extend the lives of women living with metastatic breast cancer, "Winning isn't going to be finishing the race because it's a race I can't win."
Winning are the moments where Katie sees that she and other women like her are making a difference. Once again this year the McKay Tower in downtown Grand Rapids will be lit up in green, teal and pink, the colors of metastatic breast cancer and this year the blue bridge will also shine awareness.
"To see our lights our colors shining bright makes us feel like people are hearing us," Katie said.
Katie doesn't know how much time she has left but she does know what she wants to do with it, "Have I left a legacy? Have I left everybody something to be proud of? That's what I hope I do."
You can follow Katie's journey on her new website Terminally Joyful and help her in her fight to find a cure for metastatic breast cancer.
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