Four weeks after her 33rd birthday, Crystal found a lump in her breast. When she told a good friend and co-worker — whose mother happened to be in treatment for metastatic breast cancer — the friend told her, “Don’t mess around.”
A smart warning for us all: Don’t mess around when you find something wrong.
A few days later, Crystal was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. A childhood memory flashed through her mind: of riding in the back seat of her grandmother’s car and hearing her grandmother say that if she ever got cancer, she would go straight to Roswell Park. “When my local doctor asked me where I would like to go for treatment,” she says, “I didn’t have to think twice. I knew I was coming to Roswell Park.”
Even so, she was expecting the worst. “But when I walked in the main doors, I was overcome by warmth. It didn’t look or feel like a hospital but more of a luxurious hotel lobby. There was a coffee shop, a gift shop and live music. My mind was at ease.”
The most difficult part of the whole journey, she says, was telling her then-8-year-old daughter about her cancer. But Roswell Park’s Navigation and Resource Center helped her prepare for that, and her daughter became her biggest supporter. “She gave me the strength I needed to get through the days I didn’t think were possible,” Crystal says.
She’s now in what’s called pathological complete remission, yet there’s always a chance the cancer could come back. But for now, she’s so grateful to all the donors who supported the research that has led to the latest in cancer treatments — including hers, the reason she’s still here today.
“I'm living proof that we are so close to a cure! Because of donations to cancer research, treatment options are advancing for every type of breast cancer. I look forward to seeing what the future holds, and I can't wait for the day we can finally say we have a cure!”
Crystal is one of many employees at Cutco Cutlery, a manufacturer of kitchen knives and accessories located in Olean, New York, who have been affected by cancer. To help bring awareness and advance research, Cutco has partnered with Roswell Park to present specially engraved Positively Pink products for purchase in support of breast cancer awareness this October. Purchase of these products will directly support Roswell Park’s tamoxifen therapy research study, led by Dr. Gokul Das.
Here’s how you can purchase these products and join Cutco in supporting breast cancer research at Roswell Park. Ten percent of every Positively Pink item purchase will benefit the tamoxifen study, with a minimum guaranteed donation of $50,000.
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Editor’s Note: Cancer patient outcomes and experiences may vary, even for those with the same type of cancer. An individual patient’s story should not be used as a prediction of how another patient will respond to treatment. Roswell Park is transparent about the survival rates of our patients as compared to national standards, and provides this information, when available, within the cancer type sections of this website.