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Research Is the Reason My Mom Is Still Here
Actress Carly Hughes shares how research advancements improved her mother’s breast cancer prognosis.
Carly and her mom are inseparable. Despite their cross-country distance – Maryland to California – they speak every day. So when Carly learned her mother was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of breast cancer, she couldn’t imagine a world without her in it.
“Initially, I was devasted. But the next day, I kicked it into gear and asked, ‘What’s our next step?’” Carly said.
Her mother, Valencia, had stage III inflammatory breast cancer. As a medical assistant in an oncology office for 12 years, Valencia was familiar with cancer and what treatment would be like.
“I was sad, but I didn’t say ‘Why me?’” Valencia said. “I knew it could happen to anyone.”
Carly is an actor who has appeared on Broadway and most recently on the TV show, American Housewives. It’s a career choice that came as no surprise to her mother.
“Carly was a spitfire from day one,” she says recalling how Carly’s singing and dancing were nonstop activities growing up.
“She was a bright light – and always was a caregiver,” Valencia said.
This was seen in full force during Valencia’s treatment. Carly would take red-eye flights from Los Angeles to Maryland to be with her mother for treatment. While she was away, care packages were frequently sent and she managed her mother’s support circle from afar.
“Filming all day, taking a red eye flight across the country, sitting through chemotherapy and then getting back to filming on Monday – it was rough,” she said. “But I’ve always been there for her, and this time wasn’t going to be any different.”
After chemotherapy, a double mastectomy and 30 rounds of radiation, Valencia is nearing the end of treatment. The mother-daughter team say that research advancements gave Valencia the confidence that her disease was being treated in the best way possible.
“When I was diagnosed, my doctor assured me not to worry. He said, ‘We know what to do,’” Valencia said.
Carly maintains a strong belief in the power of research for keeping her family together – and why she’s chosen to support BCRF.