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Research is the Reason I Have More Time with My Granddaughter

By BCRF | November 19, 2018

After overcoming breast cancer herself, Constance was able to support her granddaughter when she too was diagnosed with cancer.

Nearly two decades ago, Constance Boll found a malignant lump on her breast. At the time, she was raising her granddaughter, Sarah, and she didn’t want the diagnosis to get in the way.

“I met the news head on,” Constance said referring to her breast cancer diagnosis.

She soon began treatment which included surgery, radiation and chemotherapy—traveling daily by train from her home in Connecticut to New York for the radiation therapy.

Sarah, who was in sixth grade at the time, was sheltered from the news. However, when she saw a hospital band on her grandmother’s wrist, the reality of the diagnosis truly sunk in.

“I was a little shocked,” Sarah said. “I didn’t understand what was going on and felt  confused about it.”

The bond Constance and Sarah share started when Constance raised her from a young age. This centered her as she underwent treatment. She remained positive throughout and after she entered remission.

 “I haven’t had any repercussions,” she said. “I consider myself fortunate.”

Constance’s successful treatment allowed her to support Sarah during Sarah’s own medical diagnoses. Sarah underwent a breast lumpectomy and reconstruction for four tumor nodules that were benign. Soon after that episode, Sarah was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.

“It was a little scary but watching what my grandmother went through, I had a good support system and a lot of confidence during the process,” Sarah said.

Today, Sarah has turned her experience into a way to advance research. She works at BCRF as the Senior Program Manager for the Research Grants team.

“My grandmother inspired me to pursue a career in cancer research,” she said.

As a thyroid cancer survivor, Sarah is driven by the fact that breakthroughs made in breast cancer can inform other cancers as well.

“The magnitude of impact that we can have is impressive,“ Sarah said.

Besides genes, they also share a deep appreciation for research.

“I think research is the answer to prolonging and improving lives,” Constance said.

“Research is the reason we’re both here today,” Sarah said.