Kimberly Hagerich, Co-Chair

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Kimberly Hagerich, Co-Chair

Kimberly Hagerich

I was diagnosed with Stage III breast cancer in 2005 at the age of 36. My daughters were 1 and 3 at the time and I remember being told by a health care professional that I had a 50/50 chance of walking my oldest daughter to kindergarten. She obviously had never met the doctors at Fox Chase Cancer Center! My team at Fox Chase gave me much better odds and I underwent an intense regimen of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, hormonal and targeted therapies.

I was fortunate in that when I was diagnosed, I had met two other young survivors of breast cancer who were able to guide me through the difficulties that younger women face such as early menopause and talking to my children about cancer. After treatment I met another young survivor who was not as fortunate in finding someone her age to talk with. We decided that we didn't want other women in the Philadelphia area to go through breast cancer alone so we started an affiliate of the Young Survival Coalition (YSC). YSC is the only international non-profit dedicated to the needs of women diagnosed with breast cancer under the age of 40. YSC-Philly currently serves over 300 young women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, ranging in age from 22 to 50.

In addition to my involvement in YSC, I am a tireless advocate for breast cancer research. I currently serve as a Pennsylvania Team Leader for the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) and go to Washington, DC several times a year to lobby on behalf of breast cancer issues. I have reviewed for the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program and serve as a Susan G. Komen Advocate in Science, a helpline volunteer for Living Beyond Breast Cancer, and a delegate to the Livestrong Summit. I've also been the patient liaison on a clinical trial and have worked part-time for a local breast cancer advocacy organization, Linda Creed.

I recently came full circle as my advocacy work has now led me back to Fox Chase. I am thrilled to be a member of the Patient-Family Advisory Council and the Medical Ethics Committee and was also honored to be chosen as the first Honorary Chair for Fox Chase's Survivorship Celebration. However, my greatest achievement has been participating on a research grant application with my oncologist and other prominent Fox Chase physicians. I am able to take all that I have learned in research advocacy and apply it directly to potential research at Fox Chase. From a patient with a finance degree to an advocate survivor, Fox Chase has truly turned my life around.