5 Under 40 has provided me with immeasurable support as I have begun my experience with breast cancer. You are not “one of many” in this organization, instead you are a person whom everyone knows. From support groups, physician referrals, daily phone calls, and even attending doctor’s visits, 5 Under 40 had reminded me I am not alone and I am understood. During this emotional, painful, and terrifying time they have been there every step. I am so grateful for everything they have done.
Thank you for giving me not only a beautiful wig but also inspiration, love, and hope! What you do is very important in helping women find the strength to go through this very strenuous and challenging filled journey. Thank you for understanding the obstacles and coming alongside of us for support!
When I felt a lump on my 37 year-old breast over Christmas weekend 2016, I felt as if the rug was pulled out from under me. Yes, I was too young to qualify for mammograms. I was also too young to care. From that moment on, my very being will forever be linked to triple negative breast cancer. I pushed through my treatments and bilateral mastectomy with a smile. A wore a “brave face” mask that shielded family, friends, and strangers from the pain and confusion I felt every step of the way. The support I received was abundant, and at times overwhelming, but never have I felt so alone. Then along came my dames in pink armor, 5 Under 40. A friend and fellow fighter set me up with the foundation via email a couple of months after I finished chemo. I was fresh in the survivor stage of my journey. The “easy part” as those who’s body was unaffected by cancer would happily tell me. In one email, they invited me to meet face to face with fellow survivors. In the next one, she was setting me up with funding for breast cancer rehabilitation. Unbeknownst to her, my insurance had just cut coverage for physical therapy to treat axillary cording that formed from lymphnode removal during my surgery and lymphedema prevention. “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” At the meet-up, they greeted me with a smile, open arms and understanding. A true bada**! And nothing was more empowering than being in a room full of women on the same journey as me. I laughed. I cried. I exhaled. It was everything I needed. The true definition of strength in numbers! Words could not form a sentence to express the gratitude I have for 5 Under 40. The only way I can truly thank them is by never giving up the fight and paying it forward.
On April 1st, my world shattered as I heard the words ” you have invasive ductal carcinoma”. I was diagnosed with breast cancer, at the age of 33 with two children. I was very scared. Many questions arose; all I want is to see my kids grow up and share with them each milestone, to grow old with my husband. I called a friend, and she said to me you need to get in contact with my friend Adele, she belongs to this wonderful group called 5 Under 40. As soon as I got off the phone I went online, I thought I was the only woman in her 30’s to be diagnosed with breast cancer. As I read each of their stories, it gave me hope. I found that I’m not alone. I was put in contact with Adele, who’s story gave me strength. She also introduced me to one of the many great face-to-face meet ups that 5 Under 40 provides. On April 20th, I not only obtained great nutritional information, but I met a group of wonderful women that I can relate to, and who have become my friends.
On May 12th I had a double mastectomy, I was in the hospital for five days, my journey had started. I felt lonely, anxious, and scared. I got many calls and texts from my new group of survivor sisters. Jennifer Finkelstein came to visit me at the hospital and I was beyond touched. As I was feeling lonely she sat with me, gave me comfort, gave me hope. I was very touched when Jen told me she would take me to buy a human hair wig.
On June 12th, Jennifer, Elina, and Sandy made time for me. I never knew that I would smile, laugh, while trying on wigs. It was a great afternoon. Elina and I went to lunch and shared more stories. She also helped get prepared for my first chemo session. I am very thankful and feel blessed to have found 5 Under 40, I don’t see them as an organization, I see them as my new family who are helping me through this. I can’t wait to get on my feet 100% and to be able to help others the same way 5 Under 40 has taught me to.
At age 26 — just one month after moving to New York City and one day after sharing our leftover wedding cake with family to celebrate my first wedding anniversary — I was diagnosed with Stage 2, node-positive, HER2/neu breast cancer.
Having breast cancer at any age is lonely, but it’s especially lonely in your twenties. When your friends are spending Fridays at bars and clubs and weekends traveling, and you are spending Fridays receiving treatment and the weekends recovering, you realize how much you need to connect with others sharing your experience.
I met Jennifer Finkelstein a few weeks after undergoing my double mastectomy. We easily connected on so many levels — about our weddings, our treatments, fertility, side effects of Tamoxifen, hair growth, and numerous other cancer-related topics my friends and family were simply unable to relate to. Upon attending my first nutrition seminar at 5 Under 40, I met a dozen other women sharing my experiences, all of whom were just as open and caring as Jennifer.
Not only does 5 Under 40 provide much needed wellness services to its beneficiaries, but it also provides a community and support network for breast cancer survivors. A community is something I desperately sought during my treatment, and I’m happy I can now call the women at 5 Under 40 my second family.
I was short of breath; the room was spinning as I exited NYC’s top oncologist’s office into the waiting room. My new reality of an aggressive cancer required life-altering decisions… fast. When I needed time for introspection and deliberation I was being counseled on the importance of a rapid decision. My husband was supportive and loving; he could not have known the tumult and suffering I was experiencing.
When we are brought to our knees, God sends angels. Jennifer saw my Husband’s futile attempt to console and unhesitatingly approached to heal with an empathetic embrace and words of strength, encouragement and compassion. She too had been in this desperate storm in this capsizing skiff. Through the weeks and months of my enduring ordeal, Jennifer was my comforter, counselor and friend. Her forthright advice and insight were essential elements in my treatment and full recovery.
Fear and anticipation of impending treatments and surgery are debilitating. Our minds ‘loop’ to replay our worst anxieties. Jennifer’s insights to what I would undergo and their side effects helped to place each in perspective and tow my lifeboat to a Safe Harbor.
To my friend Jennifer with love, Heike
I was diagnosed with Her2 Neu Positive breast cancer in April 2014 at the age of 39. All of a sudden, my whole world changed in a split second. I had no idea what to do or where to start on saving my life. I no longer had the capacity to deal with menial problems. All I knew was that I had cancer. Now what? Well thanks to an introduction to Jen Finkelstein, I now had someone to ask that question to. The 5 Under 40 Foundation, Jen and Erica Byruch not only helped me to prepare for what I was about to endure, but they supported me throughout my chemo process & continue to play a large role in my life. I still have a road of recovery ahead but now I have a young women’s network who have become an addition to my family that I can turn to for help, advice and support at any point in my journey.
Within a few days of my diagnosis I came across the 5 Under 40 website and was immediately drawn to the content. Being a “young” 33 year-old female at the time of my diagnosis I had a lot of concerns related to fertility, body image, intimacy, nutrition and my life moving forward. As fate would have it Jen and I have a mutual friend that put us in touch. Jen has been so incredibly supportive during my treatment reaching out to me offering words of encouragement and comfort. 5 Under 40 offers valuable resources and information about the breast cancer journey that have helped me cope with my diagnosis, treatment and moving forward with my life as a young survivor. 5 Under 40 is an excellent online resource if you wish to remain private about your diagnosis and is a wonderful resource if you decide to reach out to one of the “Meet the Five”.
Your eloquent note to Dr. Moore, and you kind words on behalf of the 5 Under 40 to me, speak volume to the size of your heart and the empathy that fills it. You are clearly an individual that sees a need and acts! You have gathered a remarkable group of strong women that are benefiting from your effort. You took a collage of individuals and wove them into a healing tapestry…each a thread that offers to the other strength, color, spirit, texture and support… Bravo! Unlike the virtual friending executed on social media, this intimate group of women have obviously forged the kind of “old fashion, in person friendship” now rare…Dr. Moore has an intimate affect on her patients as she really “doctors” in the old fashion way, motivating us to “pay it forward”. I was always struck by the feeling she would convey in visits with her, that even though the waiting room was full, when you are with her, you are the only thing that matters.
Till we meet again, BIG HUG TO ALL!