In 2001, Christine Druther, a HER2 breast cancer survivor, had an explicit vision for a new kind of support group designed specifically for people with HER2 breast cancer. While there are numerous support groups for the many people living with breast cancer, Christine and her husband, Joe, saw a need for a place where women could come to share information, hope, and encouragement about their particular type of cancer. Together, they developed HER2Support.org.
Among other tools, HER2Support.org features information about the HER2 gene, current tests and clinical trials, background about treatments, and a special section on drugs and their side effects. There are message boards for people to participate in discussions about topics that matter most to them, a place for members to share and read personal stories, and additional links to a variety of resources regarding nutrition, financial assistance, and the top physicians treating HER2 breast cancer today.
Christine’s journey to help others began with her own diagnosis in 1990, only 10 months after her mother passed away from the same disease. Even after surgery and aggressive treatment, her cancer returned in 1999 as stage IV and spread to her brain, a common effect of HER2 breast cancer. Christine decided to take her health into her hands, and through copious research and working with her doctors, she found a new treatment option that worked for her. Nine years later, there has been no evidence of Christine’s cancer recurring.
Because of her personal struggle, Christine is adamant about getting the word out about HER2 breast cancer and keeping other women informed and involved. She believes strongly that an informed person is the best survivor.
For more information on the HER2 gene, clinical trials, or just to share your experiences with other women living with HER2 breast cancer, log on to HER2Support.org.
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This article was originally published in Coping® with Cancer magazine, January/February 2009.