Fighting for all women to have the right to treatment for metastatic breast cancer with new diagnostic criteria
This is my beautiful friend Penny sporting the hot pink hair. For those who have the privilege of knowing her, know that her beauty extends inside as well as out. Sometimes we meet people and instantly connect. You know the type I am talking about. The type of person you feel you have know your entire life even though you just met them. If you have ever met Penny Koutroumanos then I am sure you know what I am talking about. Anyone that has met her will agree that she is unforgettable and one of a kind.
This photo was taken in the fall of 2015 - Penny and I had both gone through multiple rounds of chemo for breast cancer. We took the opportunity to sport some colorful fake hair and bond in the usual way that girls do - over the course of several coffees and several hours. Fast forward 2 years, and thank God my breast cancer outcome has been smooth sailing.
It hasn't been so for our dear friend Penny. After Penny's double mastectomy and radiation treatments she has been undergoing chemo over the last two years. And she will have to for the rest of her life - the problem is that no regimen has been very effective so far - and the last one almost killed her. With each failed therapy comes less and less hope of beating this.
Penny followed up a lead to get some genetic testing that cost her out of pocket over 8000 USD which shows that she can actually benefit from some targeted, less toxic therapies. She needs a combination of two monoclonal antibodies - but these are very costly therapies. This isnt easy for the mother of two two as her husband is the only one supporting the family.
Penny does not meet the provincial or her insurer's reimbursement criteria for these drugs. Her oncologists plan on fighting these criteria with the government once she gets started and they can prove that it works so that her life saving therapies can be covered. This will benefit all women with this kind of breast cancer. Our Penny is a pioneer for all our sisters mothers, daughters, aunts, neices, and grandmothers.
In order to get started and fight for the rights of all women to have these treatments reimbursed by the RAMQ, Penny needs 50 000 Can dollars. As a community we can help her beat this. Penny is a daughter, a sister, a neice, a wife, mother and friend. But most of all Penny is a bright light and a kind soul. Let's keep her bright light burning - the world is a better place with dear Penny in it. Please help us reach this goal for her fight and the fight of all to follow. It is urgent to get Penny going on these drugs to give her a fighting chance at living her life. God Bless and much love - her friends Nancy and Kelly