Meet 5 Breast Cancer Survivors Helping Other Women Fight the Disease

By Concepcion De Leon

In Glamour's October issue, five inspiring breast cancer survivors dare to show what it's really like to live with the disease — and what it takes to overcome it. Here's how each of these strong women continues to fight back, helping others along the way.

1. Jamie Pleva-Nickerson:
Pleva-Nickerson takes part in the Tour de Pink, a 200-plus-mile bike ride that raises money for Young Survival Coalition (YSC), the leading organization for young women with breast cancer. YSC helps patients navigate from being newly diagnosed to living with the disease, offering support groups, survivor peers, and advocacy opportunities. After Pleva-Nickerson was diagnosed at age 29, a YSC executive talked to her about freezing her eggs before chemo. "[My husband and I] call our twins our YSC miracle babies," she says of her 10-month-old girls. “If it wasn’t for the YSC, they wouldn't be here."

2. Beth Fairchild
Fairchild is outreach coordinator for Metavivor, a nonprofit that funds research specifically targeting metastatic breast cancer. (The organization has a scientific advisory board that awards two-year grants to promising proposals.) "The mission is to extend and improve the lives of those who are already metastasized, which is me," says Fairchild, 36, "and to turn this terminal disease into a chronic one."

3. Heather Salazar
Salazar is executive director of Pink Ribbon Girls, an Ohio-based charity that delivers healthy prepared meals to patients undergoing breast cancer treatment—and provides housekeeping, transportation, and peer support. "Last year we shipped more than 35,000 meals," says Salazar, who was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 31 and is working to expand the organization nationally. "Our goal is that each patient spend her healthy moments with her family or doing whatever is important to her."

4. Emily Jensen
Jensen, who was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 31, started Flattopper Pride — a nonprofit that provides a community for queer cancer patients and others to explore and express their experiences with cancer. It also supports those who have had a mastectomy and choose not to undergo reconstruction (like Jensen) and encourages them to live proudly in their bodies. "There is nothing shameful to hide," she says. "The fact of the matter is that every person should feel comfortable in their skin."

5. Kelly De Vose
Like Pleva-Nickerson, De Vose also raises money for Young Survival Coalition. “When I was diagnosed at 32,” says De Vose, "I felt like I was the only person in the world that young going through breast cancer. Then I came across YSC, and I'm like, 'I'm not? There are more? Way more?' Honestly, I don't know what I would have done without them."

To see the rest of the article and for photos of the following women, check them out at GLAMOUR, here. 

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Photo Credit: Photographed - Heather Salazar. Photo by - Christine Benjamin.