Living with Stage IV Breast Cancer

$58,240 of $75,000 goal

Raised by 460 people in 37 months
Lindsay Redmond
on behalf of Brandi McWade
 SAN RAFAEL, CA
In September 2011, Brandi McWade was diagnosed with Stage IIB Breast Cancer. She was 27 years old. She spent the following year undergoing extensive and aggressive treatment, including chemotherapy, radiation, lymph node dissection, and a double mastectomy. It was the longest and hardest year of her life, but she maintained a positive outlook and powered through without complaint.

By fall of 2012, the doctors were confident that their aggressive treatment plan had rid her body of cancer.  She was placed on Tamoxifen as a precautionary measure, and got busy getting back to her life as it was before.  

When Brandi began having back pain in early 2014, she had little cause to believe it was related to her previous cancer diagnosis. Her doctor assumed it was a common back injury, and recommended a chiropractor. But the pain persisted. Fearing something worse and with her dad being diagnosed with bone cancer after back pain, Brandi pushed for an MRI scan. A couple of weeks before her 30th birthday, her fears were confirmed – tumors were growing in her hips and lower back. Breast cancer had spread to her bones.

Brandi’s new diagnosis was Stage IV Metastatic Breast Cancer. This was an altogether different reality than the first time around. Instead of a fight to beat cancer, Brandi was now in a lifelong battle to live with her cancer and do everything possible to slow its growth. Presently, there is no cure for metastatic breast cancer.

 The treatment options she has tried to date have all had varying periods of success, but ultimately results have been less than hoped for. Her most recent scan shows continued growth in her bones, and a doubling of tumor size in vital organs and lymph nodes. She is amending her treatment plan yet again to try and slow this growth, and will participate in a clinical trial at UCSF in July as part of research into a treatment known as Immunotherapy.

 Since her original diagnosis Brandi has shown incredible strength and grace. She has spent countless hours visiting with doctors and undergoing extensive and often debilitating treatments, while continuing to work a full-time job at Red Tricycle and live a normal life. She has also become a spokeswoman for non-profit organizations and has published articles to raise awareness about breast cancer in women under 30. With the encouragement of her doctor, Brandi has made the difficult decision to stop working to focus on her health, well-being and quality of life.

 She hopes to travel, continue to make memories with friends and spend time with her family, who are all on the east coast. She has also been active in pursuing integrative treatments outside of her regular medical care, and has found some success in pain management through bodywork and alternative healing therapies. She hopes to continue this treatment. There are also numerous alternative cancer treatments across the country and around the world. Many of these treatments show promise but have yet to be approved by the FDA and therefore fall outside the scope of insurance coverage. Her ability to pursue them is entirely dependent on her ability to pay for them out of pocket. 

 Throughout this time, Brandi has been buoyed by the love and support of family and friends. She will now rely on that support more than ever, and is reaching out to the wider community for support as well. She needs our help. Funding she receives will buy her the time and resources to continue to pursue all available treatment options, including the alternative and integrative treatments that have shown promise but fall outside the medical care she is currently receiving. It will also free her to dedicate time to her mental and emotional well-being, to surround herself with the people she loves, and continue to find the strength to navigate this difficult path.



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Please join us to celebrate the beautiful life of Brandi McWade! Sunday, February 26th from 2-6PM at the Presidio Yacht Club in Sausalito.

All who knew, loved or supported Brandi are welcome.

If you have memories, stories, poems or special words to share about Brandi, send them to: lindshanson@gmail.com - we plan to display these the day of so please specify if you'd like your name included or anonymous.

The Presidio Yacht Club can be tricky to find so please visit their website for the best directions:

http://www.presidioyachtclub.org/about.html#directions
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A celebration of Brandi's life has been planned by Brandi's family, friends and her boyfriend, Mike on Saturday, January 28th in East Hampton, CT - please see information below (written by Mike) for all of the details:

Who beams brighter than Brandi? How contagious was her spirit? Her pack family/friends came first. She was deeply grateful for her amazing tribe. Brandi felt most at home outside. She was a true lady of the lake. Her strength masked her struggle and she muscled-up gracefully for every gathering and adventure during her battle. She truly knew how to live. Let us celebrate her life and all she taught us, please join us on January 28th from 5pm-9pm at Bear Swamp Lanes, 9 Bear Swamp Rd East Hampton, CT 06424. (It's actually called Kickback n Bowl, but Brandi would never call it that) Please bring either photos or fond memories written down to share.

We have also planned a celebration of Brandi's life in California for Sunday, February 26th - more information below:

Please join us to celebrate the beautiful life of Brandi McWade! Sunday, February 26th from 2-6PM at the Presidio Yacht Club in Sausalito. All who knew, loved or supported Brandi are welcome.

If you have memories, stories, poems or special words to share about Brandi, send them to: lindshanson@gmail.com - we plan to display these the day of so please specify if you'd like your name included or anonymous.

(The Presidio Yacht Club can be tricky to find so please visit their website for the best directions)
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It saddens us to share the news that Brandi passed away Friday, January 6, 2017 surrounded by her loving family and friends. Brandi left us in the quiet, still morning amidst a beautiful soft snowfall with a graceful smile on her face. Her presence and love of laughter touched countless lives from Maine, to Hawaii. Through her zest for life, travel and adventure Brandi taught us all to live our lives as fully as possible. We are thankful for the overwhelming amount of support and love given to Brandi during her battle with cancer. We will never forget you Mother Wolf.

Brandi's passing is merely the beginning of her legacy. It comes as no surprise that among her final requests was that no flowers or gifts of any kind be given. Instead, Brandi insisted that any generosity expressed by those who love her would be directed to someone facing the same challenges she so bravely fought over the past five years. According to her wishes, her family requests that donations be made in Brandi’s name to Larissa Podermanski, an extraordinary woman on a similar journey, now courageously fighting her own battle with cancer. To honor Brandi's life and memory, please express your loving kindness by visiting https://www.gofundme.com/7bzm8479.

Brandi requested not to have a funeral or memorial service, but a celebration of Brandi's life is being planned.
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First and foremost, thank you all for your support and prayers. Brandi still cannot believe the response to this campaign.

Brandi flew back to Connecticut to see her family and east coast friends over the holiday season. Having just finished a new round of chemo, travel was difficult, but joining in with the holiday festivities definitely energized her and kept a smile on her face. Brandi visited the emergency room on the day after Christmas because she was feeling dehydrated and wanted to be well prepared for her return flight to California. The visit to the ER was prescient as Brandi was diagnosed with possible pneumonia and was admitted to a local hospital for treatment. The hospital staff has addressed the pneumonia as well as an internal infection but unfortunately, Brandi's liver has been gravely affected by the cancer that she has been battling. Brandi is currently under hospice care at the hospital and we hope to transfer her to in home hospice in the very near future. She rang in the New Year with mom, Mike, and her aunts. She refused to wear a hat :=}

Brandi had been researching alternative cancer therapies and just prior to this event, had settled in on a clinic based in San Diego with a facility just across the border. A place is being held for her at this facility and our ultimate goal is to get her healthy enough to travel there for treatment.

Everyone in Brandi's immediate circle of family and friends is focused on getting her on a path to recovery, so let's not overwhelm them with emails, texts or calls at this time, but feel free to post your well wishes and prayers on the GoFundMe page.

We wish everyone a healthy and happy new year. 2016 was a pretty lousy year and we are hoping for a much improved 2017!
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$58,240 of $75,000 goal

Raised by 460 people in 37 months
Created June 27, 2016
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$50
Annie Redmond
28 months ago
PK
$50
Patrick and Lesley Kantlehner
29 months ago
LM
$100
Lauren Morlock
30 months ago
1
1
$5
Anonymous
30 months ago
WD
$300
William Doolittle
30 months ago
RL
$50
Ron and Ruth Lehrach
30 months ago

Rest in peace after your fight. You deserve your rest in Heaven and will be remembered.

$100
Anonymous
30 months ago
MS
$100
matt simpson
30 months ago
AB
$50
Andrew and Sarah Beck
30 months ago
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