Community Health Leaders
Last updated: August 2023
In order to stay up to date on latest treatments, drug discovery, clinical studies and how to cope with late-stage breast cancer every day, AdvancedBreastCancer.net brings you frequent articles, points-of-view, and advice from leading health leaders and experts.
Current Health Leaders
Janice Cowden is a passionate patient advocate living with metastatic triple-negative breast cancer since 2016. She feels very fortunate to have No Evidence of Disease after having a complete response to her first line of treatment in 2016. As such, she is considered an exceptional responder. Read more.
Kate lives south of Pittsburgh, PA with her husband Steve, twin daughters, and son. Kate shares openly about her struggles with life & motherhood- from grieving the loss of her first daughter to facing a terminal diagnosis of Stage IV Breast Cancer at 28 and all the fun and chaotic mommy moments in between. Read more.
Since then I've made it my mission to reach the world one breast at a time. I've written two books: My Last Breast and the Power and Grace of 50, a tip book for breast cancer patients and caregivers. I've also created an inspirational Greeting Card Line to Inspire Cancer Patients. Read more.
Claire was diagnosed with breast cancer in March 2019 and is currently receiving treatment. Claire lives and writes in Oreland. PA, with her husband of 37 years. Now retired after many varied and successful careers, she considers her greatest success in life her two young adult children who bring her joy every day. Read more.
Passion, motivation, and personal experience of living with metastatic breast cancer for the past 9 years drive Lesley's desire to partner with communities, researchers, and organizations, in aiding the funding of research for a cure, bringing awareness to this overlooked stage of breast cancer and support to those who live daily with Metastatic Breast Cancer. Read more.
Dr. Christina Hibbert
Dr. Christina Hibbert is a psychologist, bestselling author, speaker & breast cancer warrior. A thought leader/influencer in women's & maternal mental health, grief/loss/trauma, & motherhood, Christina has changed the work of patient advocacy through her raw & real #breastcancerwarrior videos & posts, with her focus on the mental-emotional journey of cancer.
Linda is a caregiver for her husband Bob. Bob was diagnosed with MBC de novo in January 2003. Bob had gone to the Doctor because he had a lump in his breast. Because it is rare in males to get BC they didn’t do a biopsy. After his clavicle fractured for the second time for no apparent reason he was diagnosed with MBC. Bob has been permanently disabled since his diagnosis. At the time of Bob’s diagnosis Bob was given 24-30 months to live. Read more.
Lara Huffman is a writer, photographer, and advocate living with Metastatic Breast Cancer since 2020. Her mother died of metastatic breast cancer when Lara was 7 years old. Initially diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer in 2010. Read more.
Joel Hughes is the director of Rebekah’s Hope. He is the author of HELP Someone I Love Has Cancer, In Your Corner, and EPIC Hope. Joel is also the executive director of the feature documentary, A Brave Hope. Read more.
Rebekah Hughes is a cancer warrior surviving through Stage 1 breast cancer and surviving with Stage 4 metastatic cancer. Rebekah is the co-founder of Rebekah’s Hope and the star of the feature documentary, A Brave Hope. Read more.
Deltra is a Connecticut based mama of 5 amazing girls who she strives to raise with cultural and health awareness. She's a chain tea drinker, wig hoarder, and lover of singing loudly and dancing unabashedly. Since being diagnosed with Triple Negative MBC de novo in 2019 she has focused on thriving through education, advocacy, connecting and radical self-care. Read more.
My name is Gloria James. In January of 2000, I was diagnosed with Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC). Twenty years ago, there was very little information available about the disease, except that it was extremely aggressive, that it was usually diagnosed in late Stage III, and that the prognosis was poor. Read more.
Abigail is a daughter, mother, wife, and attorney who was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in June of 2017, close on the heels of a early stage diagnosis in March of 2017. In reality, the breast cancer had already spread to Abigail's bones before she felt the lump in her breast. Read more.
Caroline Johnson is the Founder of Twisted Pink, a non-profit organization based in Louisville, KY whose mission is to provide hope and connection for people living with metastatic breast cancer by funding bold breakthroughs in research and awareness of the disease. Read more.
Maggie Kudirka was determined to become a professional dancer since she was four years old. By age 22, her years of hard work had earned her a place in the Joffrey Concert Group - living her dream and traveling the world. But just as all of her dedication was paying off, she was diagnosed with stage four metastatic breast cancer. Despite her disease and intense medical treatment, Maggie found a way to return to dance, with the added purpose of being an inspiration to others. Read more.
Julie Lanford, MPH, RD, CSO, LDN
Julie Lanford MPH, RD, CSO, LDN, is the Wellness Director for Cancer Services, a non-profit in Winston-Salem, NC. She is a registered dietitian, licensed nutritionist and board certified specialist in oncology nutrition with over 10 years experience working in oncology. Read more.
Kayla is a new member of the cancer advocacy community, but is passionate and trying her best to be the voice she feels she needed when her wife and partner Stephanie was diagnosed with MBC in November 2020 after only 9 months of dating. Read more.
Hi everyone! My name is Stephanie Millett (she/they), and I am a 32-year-old mom living with metastatic breast cancer. I believe in living in the moment, and I try to do so every single day. I love to travel, and being on the road with my family is my favorite thing. Read more.
I am an Author, mom of two teen daughters, and I am married to my husband Jeremy who is a sheriff's deputy. I was diagnosed a little over a year ago with metastatic breast cancer, de novo. I actually ended up in the emergency room the night before my scheduled breast biopsy of a lump I discovered two weeks earlier. Unfortunately, it was then discovered that not only did I have a fracture in my spine, but I was covered in lesions. Read more.
Amy Ellen Parliman
Amy Ellen Parliman lives life by faith and enjoys spreading kindness. She has a passion for serving her community thru her career in healthcare. 25 years ago, she went to school to become a radiology technologist. She enjoys performing diagnostic imaging on her patients, she prides herself in safe and quality care. About 10 years ago she became a leader in her field and has moved into a leadership role in the Diagnostic Imaging Department. Read more.
Susan is a respected advocate in the breast cancer community. Currently, she is the President of METUP, a grassroots non-profit organization dedicated to changing the landscape of MBC. She was an Editor/Writer/Publisher and one of the co-founders of The Underbelly, an online magazine for all stages of breast cancer. Read more.
Rod Ritchie is a Sydney-born writer, internet publisher, and breast cancer patient advocate. I am a regular poster on Twitter @malefitness and contribute to various closed breast and prostate cancer Facebook pages. Read more.
Mallory is a cancer survivor, warrior, and thriver from Atlanta, Georgia. She beat Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2012 at the age of 22. She survived stage I breast cancer in 2017 at the age of 27, only to be blindsided with a recurrence in 2020 at the age of 31. Mallory is living with stage IV metastatic breast cancer. Read more.
April Stearns was diagnosed at 35 years old with Stage 3 breast cancer that she found while breastfeeding her daughter. Four years later, while struggling to “go back to normal” and find other women in similar circumstances, April launched Wildfire Magazine. Read more.
Vicki Thompson spent the last 20 years as a photojournalist in Silicon Valley. While photographing big tech was not her dream career, she was paying her dues and amassing an impressive portfolio. Read more.
Celeste Vaughan-Briggs, LSCW has more than 25 years of social-work experience and now serves as Manager of the Free Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program at Thomas Jefferson University’s (Jefferson’s) Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center in Philadelphia. Read more.
Kaye Waller has spent much of her adult life as a caregiver, beginning when she was just twenty-four years old and her best friend contracted melanoma. Later, her father fell ill with colon-rectal cancer and Kaye moved to Denver, Colorado to care for him until his passing the following year. Read more.
Former Health Leaders
Melissa Berry is a 6 year Triple Negative Breast Cancer survivor and Founder of CancerFashionista.com. She is a breast cancer thriver, recipient of the 2019 YWCA Beacon of Light Award, a Power Ambassador for The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation (Greater NYC), Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation’s 2016 Courage Award, veteran fashion/beauty publicist, professional speaker and consultant. Read more.
Joanna Chanis is a Mindset Mentor and Resilience Expert . She is the author of The Waiting Room Book, Host of “About Life with Jo” podcast and a mother of two teenage girls. She is a Greek American born in Worcester, Massachusetts, who moved to Boston for college 30 years ago and has lived there ever since. Read more.
Mary E. Costello
Mary E. Costello (a.k.a. “Cos”) was diagnosed with de novo metastatic breast cancer (MBC) in July of 2020. For the first four months, she mistakenly believed she had two years to live. Only after a second opinion did she discover that chemotherapy should have never been her first line of treatment—and that was just for starters. Quickly she learned to question EVERYTHING. Read more.
Claudia Munoz Gonzalez
Claudia was born in Colombia, South America where she grew up surrounded by her parents, brother, sister and a numerous close-knit extended family that include more than 20 aunts and uncles and needless to say about 100 cousins. Read more.
Sarah Kelly is a stage 3, Triple Negative Breast Cancer. Sarah was 36 years old had recently gotten married, had a 14 month old and was 32 weeks pregnant when she was diagnosed. After 2 rounds of chemo, Sarah was induced, delivering her daughter on Monday and having her 3rd round of chemo that Friday, she calls that her Warrior Week! Read more.
Alison Petok is an oncology social worker; she received her Master in Social Work and Master in Public Health from the University of Pennsylvania. She has worked in oncology research and currently serves as a clinical social worker in the Department of Medical Oncology at Thomas Jefferson University. Outside of work Alison is a long-time volunteer with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Read more.
Leah Robert has always had a passion for health and wellness, which lead her into her career as an oncology nurse. Her passion and expertise in helping cancer patients was reinforced when her sister Sarah was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer. Read more.
Andrew Silver is a writer whose life has been changed by metastatic breast cancer twice: once as a fifteen-year-old, when his mother, Linda, died of metastatic breast cancer at 43, two years after diagnosis, and once as a fifty-year-old, when his wife, Anya, died of metastatic breast cancer at 49, fourteen years after diagnosis. Read more.
As a nurse who is actively involved with breast cancer patients and their care from diagnosis through treatment, I have found great compassion and interest in supporting my patients through their journeys. Read more.