A Cancer-Ninja in the Making

Heartbreak Hil was created to help me share my experiences as a two-time cancer survivor, mom of three, full-time MBA student, cancer-fighting fund-raiser, marathon runner, and wife to a very understanding husband.MollyBurnsPhotography-147

To clear things up… No, I am not a runner.  But, in the name of cancer fighting, I am (slowly) becoming one. My motivation for running faster and further has little to do with other runners.  Instead it stems from my personal battle with cancer.  I run to prove that you can continue to kick ass after cancer and to raise money for innovative basic cancer research… to date, I’ve raised over $100K.

Logging miles in the cold is just part of training for Boston.

On January 6, 1996, I was diagnosed with pediatric AML and my life changed forever.  After two aggressive courses of chemotherapy, my family and I learned that a bone marrow transplant was the only real chance for long-term survival.  Fortunately, my only brother was a stem cell match and shortly thereafter, I received chemo, radiation, and my brother’s stem cells.  Despite the challenges that would come with this process and there were many, it is responsible for 18 cancer-free years of life during which I graduated from Penn State, married my amazing husband, and gave birth to three babies no one thought I could conceive.

Celebrating my 13th birthday.

Following my 18 year cancer-free anniversary, I went to Dana-Farber for my usual check-up assessments thatare required due to the harsh leukemia treatment. After a battery of tests, I was diagnosed with a low-stage breast cancer. Unable to get any more radiation for fear that my heart would break, I ended up undergoing a bilateral mastectomy. In the fall of 2014. I’m happy to report that the one-year check-up revealed no cancer.

One year post-breast cancer and I’m clean!

To celebrate life, specifically 21 extra years of life, I will be running in the 2017 Boston Marathon on the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team with the goal of raising $23,000 to destroy cancer ($23K = 21 years leukemia free + 2 years breast cancer free). I am excited to cross the finish line knowing that we’re all closer to a world without cancer.

Getting hugs at mile 25 from ‘Matty’s Mom’…

One thought on “About

  1. Hey Hilary! Following you here on your blog as well as during the Boston Marathon….run girl run! I’m Kate B’s(MBA program) friend, just diagnosed with high risk MDS….just steps away from AML. Currently in chemo and meeting with the bone marrow transplant team this week, on my 55th birthday. Thanks for sharing your story! Cheering you on from my couch!
    -Renee “Chemosabe” Christen

    Liked by 1 person

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