UNION COUNTY, NJ – On April 23, 2015, Tami Eagle Bowling learned she had metastatic breast cancer that spread to her liver, and in the years since she has dedicated herself to raising awareness of and funds for metastatic breast cancer research.
In April, she founded METAvivors of NJ to support others battling the disease.
Bowling, along with METAvivors co-founder Lauren O’Brien, both of Scotch Plains, were recognized during the freeholder board meeting Thursday night. Both women received resolutions from the county recognizing Cancer Awareness Month in May, and Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Week, which will be May 12 to 18.
“Only 5% of U.S. breast cancer research dollars are allocated to the already metastasized patient,” Bowling said. “There is no cure, and there are not enough treatment options.”
Bowling said the average life expectancy for someone diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer is 18 to 36 months.
In the last three years, Bowling said she has raised $150,000 for metastatic breast cancer research. In addition to her own story, Bowling told the story of Monica, a young woman and mother she met two years ago who was diagnosed with the same cancer and died about two weeks ago.
“In her memory, and in her honor, I co-founded METAvivors of New Jersey,” Bowling said. “Now we have a group in New Jersey that patients, families, and friends, and anyone that wants to take action can join METAvivors of NJ on Facebook. And together, we can make a difference.”
O’Brien co-founded the company along with Bowling, who she sees as an inspiration.
“She’s been so incredibly inspiring as an advocate, that I decided to be her volunteer campaign manager,” O’Brien said of Bowling.
Kathleen Murray, one of the group’s volunteers, was also at the meeting and praised the two founders.
“I’m honored to be here with these two amazing women to bring more awareness to metastatic breast cancer,” said Murray, a resident of Cranford. “Hopefully, we are increasing that awareness tonight, and when we work together we can find a solution to this issue.”
METAvivors of NJ is a local chapter of the national group METAvivors Research and Support. The local chapter was created to “provide ways to stay informed, inspire action and advocate for better laws and more funding for stage IV breast cancer,” according to its Facebook page.
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