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Kelley Tuthill: A Story Of Survival and Surprising Motherhood for Mother’s Day

Boston news reporter Kelley Tuthill is pregnant with her third child years after completing breast cancer treatment

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This Mother’s Day will be particularly poignant for Kelley Tuthill. The 44-year-old WCVB news reporter from Boston is pregnant with her third child – a daughter. For any expectant mom this would be a considered a blessing, but for Tuthill this is a two-fold surprise.

In 2006, Tuthill had just given birth to her second child when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was 36 years old and a mother to two young daughters: a six-month-old and two-and-a-half year old. With no family history of the disease, she was frozen with fear when she learned of her diagnosis.

“As difficult as it was to lose a breast and to lose my hair, ultimately all I wanted was to not lose my life. I wanted to be here for my daughters,” Tuthill said.

After undergoing surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, Tuthill successfully completed her treatment in 2007 and has remained in remission ever since. For five years post-treatment, she took tamoxifen, an estrogen-blocker, to prevent the cancer from reoccurring. Given her course of treatment as well as her age, she did not expect nor plan for a third child

“To be here all these years later and to celebrate Mother’s Day and to be blessed to be pregnant again with a third daughter, it’s really about the best thing that could ever happen to anyone,” Tuthill said.

But Tuthill’s triumph did not come without its hurdles. Her tumor, which was HER2-positive, was aggressive. It was successfully treated with traztuzumab, a targeted therapy known as Herceptin® – a medicine developed thanks to early clinical trials supported by BCRF funding. The drug has been proven to decrease the risk of recurrence in HER2-positive cancers by 50 percent.

“I’m living proof that research is what saves lives,” Tuthill said referring to her Herceptin® treatment. “It’s not some abstract concept.”

Tuthill, who learned about the Breast Cancer Research Foundation during her course of treatment from other women diagnosed with breast cancer, has become a strong supporter of the organization’s mission to eradicate the disease by funding the world’s most promising research.

“I’m happy for what I’ve been able to survive and overcome – but we’re not finished yet,” Tuthill said. “I don’t even want to think about who’s out there right now waiting for the next breakthrough. There’s no time to waste. We owe it to women everywhere to find a cure.”

Since going public with her experience, Tuthill has met people whose family members have succumbed to HER2-positive breast cancer before Herceptin® was available.

“I’m always stunned when I hear that and I don’t know what to say,” Tuthill said. “There’s an expression that you just try to live another day hoping your cure will come. Thanks to BCRF, my treatment was there when I needed it.”

As both Mother’s Day and her due date approach, Tuthill envisions a world where more women will have outcomes like hers. She credits research to her recovery – and hopes more breakthroughs will let other women diagnosed with breast cancer return to their families or start their own if they choose.   

“I want to make sure every mother out there gets past her disease and gets to raise her children as well,” Tuthill said. “I know too many children growing up without their mothers. It’s got to stop.”

 

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