New York, United States
From College Athlete to Stage IV Cancer Mom
I am writing on behalf of one of my best friends, Reilly Starr who was diagnosed with stage IV metastatic breast cancer in January 2019 when her son was just nine months old. Reilly has been an athlete her entire life and was a Division 1 athlete at George Washington University in two sports. After college, she started a non profit to help fund volleyball college recruitment tournaments for underprivileged youth in New York City and spent most of her free time on the local volleyball circuit. Shortly after the birth of her son, she found a lump in her breast that was incorrectly diagnosed as a clogged milk duct. She later started experiencing back pain, which was said to be a result of carrying her son, and she was referred to physical therapy. After no relief from her symptoms and insisting on further testing, she found out that not only did she have cancerous lumps in both breasts and lymph nodes, but the cancer was also present in her liver and every bone in her body. After months of intense chemotherapy and treatments, in late July Reilly got word that the cancer had spread to her brain. She is a fighter and has beaten the odds with her treatments and clinical trials. Her latest brain scans showed remarkable improvements with her tumor growth. She is still working, still getting treatments every week, and still taking care of her son, which leaves little time for the physical outlet she desires and needs, not only physically but mentally and emotionally. She had to give up her gym membership due to a compromised immune system and being exposed to the germs. Now that her cancer seems to be more stable, what is missing is a fitness routine to strengthen her body and give her back a community to safely connect to while she reestablishes herself as an athlete. She made it to see her son turn 1 and is longing to live long enough to walk him to Kindergarten. I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this gift than my dear friend,.