Doctors recommended radiation, chemotherapy, surgery around early January to remove the tumor, with another round of chemotherapy following surgery. There were and are myriad side-effects of treatment, but you can read all about the whole experience on her blog, (buttclub.co). Manda began her first course of radiation treatment exactly one month after her diagnosis. Although Manda's doctor and the LIVESTRONG foundation covered the $5000 medication for initial treatments, she has still had to pay over $15,000 so far (and she hasn't even had surgery or began her second round of chemo treatments). Her anticipated costs will be over $25,000 out of pocket.
I think we all know someone who has been diagnosed with cancer. There are always cancer fundraising pages, cancer benefits, cancer awareness months. In fact, both of my parents have been diagnosed with (and beat!) at least two types of cancer. Growing up, I always knew cancer could happen in my immediate family, and when my parents were diagnosed with cancer, it was devastating. But cancer in my sister was near debilitating. She's young! And healthy! And travels! She's not supposed to get cancer.
She lives her life with great courage and humor. From moving to Australia to experience expat life to settling in Austin, where she had no family (aside from her weiner dog Leni), to forge her own path, she inspires all of us. Including me, her big sister. The downside of her adventurous spirit is that despite building a wonderful community for herself in Austin, she doesn't have the same safety net that many young adults do (although I would be remiss to not mention her selfless and patient boyfriend, Rowan, to whom I am forever indebted). But this is an opportunity to show that community can be global, and we can support one another no matter the distance. Cancer is big. It can reach into every pocket of your life, emotional, financial, professional or otherwise. But we can be bigger.
While Manda would never ask for donations, I'm not afraid to do it on her behalf. Manda has been quick to go to bat for others (including the dogs). She has advocated for several shelter dogs and found them homes, and I remember her reaching out to myself and others when a friend's home was devastated in Hurricane Harvey. Now it's our turn to ask you to share with her. Or, if you want to do something but you don't know what, consider donating. If you're not in a place to donate, consider sharing the page.
And, last but not least, KEEP YOUR LIFE ROLLIN', GO CHECK YOUR COLON.
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