Breast cancer will not define my life.

Kristi cares for her body.

She’s an active runner and a cyclist, she eats well and does everything she can to maintain a healthy lifestyle. As a matter of fact, in the months leading up to her diagnosis, she felt as healthy as she had in over 20 years. So she was absolutely shocked when she noticed that one of her breasts was misshapen and her doctor told her that she had breast cancer.

“I thought it absolutely couldn’t possibly be, I’m an athlete. I eat well, I take care of myself. I felt probably as healthy as I had felt from the time my child was born almost 20 years ago, so I was absolutely shocked.”

That discovery began a new chapter in the story of Kristi’s life. A story that would be full of difficult decisions, struggles and doubts, but would end with her refusing to let a lump in her breast decide how she was going to live the rest of her life.

Fighting breast cancer with choices

Kristi didn’t have a choice in whether or not she wanted to be diagnosed with breast cancer, but when she learned that she had it, she decided to take action and fight it with every tool she had at her disposal.

She started with her attitude toward her diagnosis and treatment. Kristi decided to stand toe-to-toe with her diagnosis and have the courage to live boldly and powerfully through it.

Part of that courage was deciding how she wanted to deal with cancer inside of her body.

Time and time again, people would come up to her and simply assume that she was going to have a double mastectomy and be done with it forever. But Kristi knew that she didn’t have the BRCA gene mutation and wasn’t so sure that’s what she wanted to do. She knew that there were many other options available that wouldn’t require her losing major parts of her body.

“So many people would come up to me and say, ‘Of course you’re going to cut both of your breasts off, right?’”

In the end, Kristi decided to have a Hidden Scar lumpectomy, a surgery that removes cancerous tissue from the breast without leaving behind dramatic scars or damage.

Words of wisdom for other survivors

Today, well into her recovery, Kristi has dedicated her life to helping women find their courage to live. She has been through the fear and uncertainty of breast cancer and her heart’s desire is to empower others to find their courage to live and thrive through their breast cancer journey, no matter where it leads.

Her advice? Don’t push away the people you love when you need it the most. Let people help and care for you.

“The biggest word of encouragement I can say is, let people help you. Ask for help when you you need it. There will be dark days, when you feel like you have no friends at all. But they’re all right there. They all want to help. They just don’t know what to do.”

And, take every day as it comes. Breast cancer is a journey. It’s a journey that is made of individual steps that are taken every single day. Kristi wants to encourage women to focus on those little steps and to do what they can, when they can, for as long as they’re able; whatever that looks like.

For Kristi, that included running and getting stronger. For you, it may look different and that’s okay. Find your courage to live and thrive.

“This is a journey and this journey, it doesn’t end here. It’s one run at time, so I’m going to keep running.”

Breast cancer is only a part of your story.

Share your personal story in the fight against breast cancer.

Join women from around the world who have shared their stories of courage in the face of breast cancer. Your experience can encourage and empower those who may be feeling alone in their journey.

Tell your story