While you saw the fragility of her small body first, what you remembered about Britney was the fearless way she held your eyes. Behind the dirty fingernails, dusty knees, tattered clothes, and veil of matted, sandy-colored ringlets were remarkably self-confident, sparkling eyes that belied the suffering she had witnessed in her three short years.

Britney, along with her two brothers and two sisters, had recently been removed from her biological parents’ home due to neglect and mistreatment. Meeting Britney for the first time, her foster parents immediately recognized a formidable will inside this tiny girl. The body looked battered and broken but the mind inside was sure and assertive. She was…strong; less haunted than her siblings and more at ease, confident that things were now as they should be, and all was well. What was more, her first instinct was to use that innate strength to help those who were weaker. Quickly at home in the new house, Britney became her sibling’s advocate, lobbying for their needs and carefully seeing to their wellbeing.
Shortly after arriving, a legal setback briefly made it appear that all five children would have to return to their biological parents. Britney put her foot down. With the authority of a judge reading a verdict, she stated to her foster parents and the strangers from Child Protective Services that neither she nor her siblings were going anywhere. She simply wouldn’t stand for it. They were staying. Happily, the issue was resolved and, a short time later, Britney and her siblings were adopted by their loving foster parents.
Now with a loving and compassionate family to protect and care for her, Britney flourished and found new outlets to bring joy and support to others. Slowly, the sandy ringlets became warm caramel waves of hair. The tiny, weakened frame stretched and strengthened. The little girl grew and changed and matured into a beautiful young woman. What remained the same was her strength. Head held high, singing and dancing, she sought out ways to care for others and to selflessly offer her strength where others had none. In the 26 years we have known Britney, she has never stopped standing her ground and remains at her most formidable when standing on behalf of others.
Unfortunately, there come times when our own strength isn’t enough. Sadly, that time has come for Britney. After standing for so many others, Britney can no longer stand on her own. A few months ago, Britney noticed a large nodule in her neck. Then a second that brought an exhaustion that overshadowed her like a fog. A resulting biopsy revealed the worst. Tragically, metastatic melanoma has been silently snaking its way throughout her system. A scan of her once healthy body is now punctuated with black shadows where cancer has insidiously taken up residence – in her skin, lymph nodes, liver, and bones. With it comes pain that robs her of sleep, bravery, and peace.

After the initial discovery, Britney’s doctors ran a battery of tests and discovered that her specific cancer is being caused by a BRAF mutation. The BRAF gene, which all of us have, manufactures a protein that controls cell growth. Unfortunately, a rare mutation in Britney’s BRAF gene has switched it into overdrive. Her cells are growing out of control and that is leading to her widespread cancer.

As disheartening as having this BRAF mutation sounds, it’s actually a blessing. Since the malfunction of this gene was discovered in 2002, it’s been studied by the world’s foremost cancer researchers, is well understood, and is one of the great opportunities in cancer treatment. Researchers and pharmaceutical firms have uncovered treatments and developed drugs that can inhibit the BRAF gene’s malfunction and, in some cases, reverse the spread of the melanoma. 

Those of us who love and admire her, those of us she supported, those of us she defended, are coming to you now to ask for help as we try to be the strength she’s lost. 


Naturally, these treatments do not come without costs. If you have insurance, you likely know its limitations. Besides being limited in what medical treatments are covered and paid for, it makes no allowances for daily care, supplementation, travel, and other expenses patients must cover. Thankfully, Britney does have health insurance. She works for an amazing company and has an incredible boss who made it possible for her to work remotely from Houston, Texas where the MD Anderson Cancer Center is located. However, we fully expect the drugs for her treatment to exceed the limits of her insurance by at least $2,000 per month.

Here is where you come in.


We are asking all who can to make donations for Britney’s care that they can afford. We know times are hard right now and that so many are out of work or struggling. Anything you can give will help and be greatly appreciated.

Equally important is getting Britney’s story in front of as many people as you can. Many hands help make the load light. With that in mind, Instagram and Facebook accounts have been started under the handle @battleforbrit. We’d also be grateful if you would tag your posts and donations with #battleforbrit. Doing so will help create more traffic to this page and her cause.


Britney’s strength, which she so freely gave to others, has been drained from her. What is left is being channeled into the one weapon she still wields – Hope. Hope in the amazing medicines that can halt, and in some cases, reverse the cancer caused by the BRAF mutation. Hope that the world’s best researchers and experts at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston will accept her case. Hope, not just for more time but for more quality of life too. Britney has the possibility of both.

We hope you’ll join us and help fight the #battleforbrit



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Caran Karlin 
Spring, TX
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