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Tara’s Story

As she stared at her reflection and watched the way that her v-neck t-shirt hung awkwardly on her body, Tara acknowledged her toughest reality—that her body would never be the same again. At once her t-shirt reminded her of who she was and who she had become. Following her double mastectomy, Tara’s body had physically changed and with it came a change in her identity.

In the back of her mind, Tara always knew that there was a chance that she’d get cancer. After all, her mother had passed away at age 50 from ovarian cancer and her aunt also had breast cancer. Despite the prevalence of cancer in her family, Tara felt that it was important to focus on other things like getting an education and starting a career. So when doctors told her that she had triple negative breast cancer and the BRCA1 gene mutation at only 32, Tara’s life took an unexpected turn. She quickly faced an onslaught of major treatment decisions and had to carefully weigh out all of her options.

Going through chemotherapy, radiation and a double mastectomy were choices that Tara knew she had to make, but for her, these treatments wouldn’t be the hardest part of her experience. Instead, having to make decisions about breast reconstruction would be the most challenging.
“I want to feel like the part of me that was misplaced while having cancer is back again,” says Tara. “I don’t think I’ve lost part of who I am, but I certainly feel like I may have misplaced something in the process.”

Now Tara considers herself as a strong advocate for breast cancer awareness. Although she is only partway through her journey, she’s determined to continue life with optimism and hope.

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While breast cancer in women under the age of 40 is rare, breast cancer in young women tends to be more aggressive and have a poorer prognosis. To help address the challenges and lack of research in this area, the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation,  together with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research – Institute of Cancer Research (CIHR – ICR), has made a nearly $5.7 million investment to support a pan-Canadian research team investigating breast cancer in young women. This funding is one of the largest amounts ever granted in Canada for research in this area and the program is the largest of its kind in the country.

Help Increase Awareness of Women’s Health Options

Buy a Gift for the Cure to increase access and awareness of women’s post-mastectomy breast reconstruction.

The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation’s collection of Gifts for the Cure offers a way to create change for women’s health and all those affected by breast cancer.

Among our 14 impactful gifts, you can purchase the Gift of a BRA (Breast Reconstruction Awareness) to provide education, awareness and access for women considering post-mastectomy breast reconstruction. Your gift will help women get the information they need to make a confident decision that is right for them. They will hear their options from plastic surgeons, connect with women who are considering breast reconstruction themselves and see firsthand real life results from an inspiring group of volunteer women who have experienced breast reconstruction, such as Tara. 

Purchase this gift now.

More than 25,000 Canadians are diagnosed with breast cancer each year and their personal journeys are unique and deeply moving.