In May 2002, Heather was raising her three kids, all under the age of 8, and finishing up her college degree, when she heard about a young, single mom in their community, who was battling stage 4 breast cancer and about to put her 8-month-old baby into foster care.
Heather and Steve opened up their hearts and decided to adopt baby Lexi and to help care for her mom, Alexis, as she underwent a mastectomy, followed by chemotherapy and radiation treatment. Despite her courageous efforts to get better, Alexis passed away in June of 2003.
18 months later Heather discovered a small, hard lump in her breast. She remembered Alexis talking about young people getting cancer and realized that she needed to get it checked immediately. A biopsy confirmed that she had HER2-positive breast cancer— the same aggressive cancer that took Alexis.
Heather feared that Lexi might lose two moms to the exact same disease. Following a bilateral mastectomy and three months of intensive chemotherapy, Heather joined a clinical trial for Herceptin, a drug that has since proven successful in treating this type of breast cancer.
Heather admits she never would have given herself an exam and or taken action without Alexis. She saved my life and showed me what my true purpose in life is.
Inspired by this life-changing experience. Heather founded, Pink Ribbon Girls, a grassroots nonprofit organization that balances the fear and uncertainty that breast and gynecological cancers bring to individuals and families by providing meals, house cleaning, rides to treatment, and peer support free of charge.
Pink Ribbon Girls has recently expanded its services beyond Ohio to St. Louis, Missouri and the San Francisco Bay area in California. Her goal is to expand Pink Ribbon Girls nationwide in order to help as many women as possible.You can read about Heather’s experience here in People Magazine.