A New Normal. A Strident Supporter Of Research.
By BCRF | July 19, 2016
By BCRF | July 19, 2016
Rebecca Scheinkman was six days shy of her 33rd birthday when learned she had metastatic breast cancer. While the diagnosis came as a shock, she turned to her past for support. At 14 years old, she was diagnosed and successfully treated for acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
“My initial reaction was, well if I did this before, I can do this again,” she said. “At least I know what to expect from chemo but I was very angry that at the ripe old age of 33, I was already diagnosed with cancer twice.”
Today, two years after her breast cancer diagnosis, Scheinkman remains in treatment and a strident supporter of breast cancer research – raising $20,000 for BCRF.
“Breast cancer research is important to me for a very selfish reason,” she said. “I want to live as long a life as possible.”
Metastatic or stage IV breast cancer has a poor survival rate, with 22 percent living five years post-diagnosis.
“I need that statistic to change so I can live to at least see my 40th birthday!” she said. “Without continued research and the development of new treatment options that won’t happen.”
As a young woman living with breast cancer, Scheinkman has learned to adjust to a new normal.
“Normal for me means frequent blood tests, seeing at least four different doctors on a regular basis, brain MRIs and PET-scans every few months and having to plan ahead for everything,” she said.
Unfortunately this reality harks back to her experience with childhood cancer where her afterschool activities consisted of chemotherapy treatments and doctor’s appointments.
“I went through my freshman and sophomore years completely bald, bloated from steroids, exhausted and constantly nauseous from the heavy duty chemotherapies – and pale as a ghost. It was a very isolating experience,” she said.
The 19-year gap between her two cancer diagnoses has given Scheinkman a new perspective on the disease. Not only has she seen how research advancements have lead to better treatments, but she also draws her strength from her extensive support circle.
“Now living with breast cancer, I get above and beyond the support that I craved as a teenage cancer patient. My friends and family have also all amazed me and surpassed any expectations I had,” she said describing their ongoing support whether it’s accompanying her to a doctor’s appointments or simply being a good listener.
Their support also extends to Scheinkman’s dedication to advancing breast cancer research. She has chronicled her journey through her BCRF personal fundraising page and encouraged family and friends to donate in her honor.
“I was particularly drawn to BCRF due to their commitment specifically to research,” she said. “I like knowing that the money I raise is mostly going to research and to support grants, and not administrative fees.”
She hopes support like hers will allow researchers to make the next big breakthrough and change the way cancer is viewed altogether.
“Cancer is not a sorority or a sisterhood that is joined by choice. BCRF has a much more realistic approach to a very serious disease,” she said.
“I hope someday all cancers will become a disease of the past – like small pox and polio – and that future generations will not ever have to be diagnosed with it.”
To visit Rebecca's fundraising page, click here.
When you give to BCRF, you're funding critical hours in the lab. More time for research means longer, healthier lives for the ones we love.