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Survivors and advocates gathered at the Washington Monument early Thursday morning before setting off on their march.
Dr. Kelly Shanahan (left), from Lake Tahoe, CA, said she is "literally dying for a cure" after begin diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer almost three years ago. Across the table from her is Lisa Schofield, a board member of METAvivor from the San Francisco Bay Area. Both participated in the Stage IV Stampede.
Marchers set off on the Stage IV Stampede.
"Almost five years ago, my husband was diagnosed with stage II-B breast cancer at the age of 56. He didn’t fit the typical mold: He was very healthy, exercised, had physicals every six months, didn’t drink. It just came out of the blue. He metastasized, and now he has stage IV breast cancer.
"When he had early stage cancer, if I was grocery shopping and I saw something with pink, I purchased it, thinking it was being invested in research for the cure, for this amazing thing we have been hearing about. When he metastasized, I found out that only 2 to 3% of funding goes to metastatic breast cancer. I was so infuriated. I was dumbfounded that we had been doing this for this long, and so little percentage goes to that. It was a quick education for me."
"I think people definitely don’t understand stage IV breast cancer. They think, as we did, there’s a slight chance that it might come back, but you’re going to be a survivor because you see all the survivor marchers, and everyone is a survivor. When it does happen, you just assume it’s the rare person. And my husband was the rare person. Then I found out that he isn’t so rare, that 30% of people had recurrences...There’s a 30% chance that not everyone is a survivor," Holmes said.