Brittany Beitel | Komen Columbus Co-Honorary Race Chair

Brittany Beitel_1Brittany Beitel has made breast cancer awareness and prevention her mission.

“I want to make a difference. I don’t care if I get ONE person to do a self breast exam, if I get ONE person to think about their bodies and how important it is to listen to your own body, I will continue to spread awareness and post every month to remind everyone the importance of self breast exams!”

At age 26, Brittany found a lump during her own routine self-exam. Brittany followed up with her doctor and was diagnosed with Stage 2 Estrogen and Progesterone Positive Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. She had no family history of breast cancer, and did not carry the BRCA mutation. The diagnosis was a shock, and it was devastating.

But Brittany is a warrior. Following her diagnosis, she went into fight-mode and didn’t look back. She knew she would beat this terrible disease.

proposalJust before her treatment began, her boyfriend Ben planned a surprise party and invited her closest friends and family. Brittany was overwhelmed with love, support, and pink upon arrival—but her biggest surprise was yet to come. As she unknowingly chatted with guests and opened gifts, Ben snuck away to change into a pink oxford and matching tie. When he returned, he pulled Brittany aside and presented her with one last surprise; he whispered into her ear, got down on one knee, and pulled a wooden ring box from his pocket. Overwhelmed with emotion, Brittany said yes.

What followed was a whirlwind. Susan G. Komen® shared the engagement through their social media outlets. Brittany and Ben were featured as #13 on Buzzfeed’s “The 25 Best Marriage Proposals of all Time.” Brittany’s social media accounts exploded.

“I woke up to over 600 friend requests one morning on Facebook. That’s when I knew I had to create BeitelStrong.”

BeitelStrong allowed Brittany to keep friends, family, and supporters updated on her battle with cancer, but it also became so much more. Beitel Strong served as a platform to promote awareness and prevention. Every month on the 16th, which is her own diagnosis date, Brittany reminds everyone to know their normal and to perform a self-exam.

She has also used Beitel Strong to share information with other survivors. After chemotherapy, Brittany wanted to know how long it would take for her hair to grow back. Unable to find any real photographic or video information, Brittany took it upon herself to provide a video timeline for future survivors. The video spans 32 weeks, and concludes with her first haircut.

We are delighted to announce that this fierce advocate will be joining the 2016 Race for the Cure as an Honorary Race Chair.

Brittany credits an amazing support system for helping her through her battle. Between Ben, their families, and friends, the outpouring of love and support was tremendous and inspiring. Her medical professionals were more compassionate than she could have imagined. In fact, Dr. Lilly even called her from a family vacation to discuss her pathology with her when the results came in. And last but certainly not least, she had the support of a group of young survivors that have deemed themselves “Breast Friends.” The relationship these girls have developed is one that will last a lifetime. Not only were they able to support one another through various stages of treatment, but since they are all young survivors in their twenties and thirties, they are able to relate to one another’s experiences in everyday life in a way that is unique.

Last October, Brittany made a video for Breast Cancer Awareness Month with the help of these special ladies. The video featured photographs of the survivors, their messages, and statistics.

“Our hope is to save one life, hope it gives you strength, hope it gives you awareness, and hope that you can still live your life to the fullest! Check yourself regularly, cancer does not discriminate for age, skin color, or race, and be your own advocate!”

We are in constant awe of Brittany’s determination to make a difference and her dedication to eliminating this terrible disease. We know Brittany will do big things, and we can’t wait to celebrate her success and upcoming marriage with her at the Race in May.

Join Brittany and the rest of our Honorary Race Chairs at the Race on Saturday, May 14. Register today and begin your fundraising.

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