With a really heavy heart, I share with you that our Kiki, our older sister, friend to many, the woman who has been a monumental influence with the greatest smile on earth, has been diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer.
Breast cancer is not common in our family, but after her diagnosis, a genetic test revealed a BARD1 gene mutation that doubles her breast cancer chance.
As many of us know, Kiki is an incredibly happy and giving person who has dedicated her life to helping others and the environment. She literally put the E in environmentalism. After spending two years in Bolivia as a Peace Corps volunteer, working on soil conservation and reforestation, she says her biggest impact was empowering the girls in her town. At Citizens for a Better South Florida, she worked with underserved children, hiking in the Everglades, growing vegetables at a school garden, teaching them to use power tools, to make things, and to use critical thinking skills. At Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, she taught teachers, homeschoolers, and children with disabilities about the wonders of tropical plants and South Florida's unique flora and fauna. For over a year now, she has been managing Pelican Harbor Seabird Station's operations and volunteer program, enabling this small organization to punch above its weight.
As one of her best friends once mentioned, Kiki is a brave and formidable warrior, and deep in our hearts, we know she's going to be okay as her prognosis is excellent. Asking for financial help is very difficult and humbling for her, though, and the cost burden may be the most frustrating and stressful part when she needs to concentrate on healing.
We are just beginning this treacherous and challenging journey, five months of chemo treatment, major operation(s), double mastectomy, and reconstruction. Graciously, any amount will help relieve some of the stress, making the process a little more manageable.
Although it is hard to know exactly how much this treatment will cost, as unexpected expenses are typical, some we already know. Her deductible and out-of-pocket expenses will be $8500 each year 2020 and 2021. We are told that there are many hidden expenses and procedures not covered or denied by insurance, healing oncology massages, and possibly unpaid time off work once she uses up all her paid time off.
We are so grateful for the immense outreach from breast cancer survivors and our family and friends. As with any person who comes across cancer, we know the journey is not an easy one, but a lot more manageable with friends' help. Kiki wants her journey to push all women to get an annual breast exam and all men to encourage them to get one. Breast cancer is curable if caught early.
Please share this link with anyone who might be able to help.
All the best with kindness, humility, and all of our hearts,
The Mutis Family and Balazs
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