On April 16, 2013 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Four days later I ran a half marathon. At the age of 42 I was at the pinnacle of health. To my friends I was the one who did everything right. Imagine the shock of learning that I had breast cancer with no family history whatsoever to explain my diagnosis.
A native of Vermont, I consider myself very lucky to live in what is considered one of the healthiest states in the country. So imagine my bewilderment, that at age 42 with twin 7 year-old daughters to raise, I received this diagnosis. Over the past 10 months of treatment, which included chemotherapy and radiation, I have been scratching my head trying to get the bottom of how I ended up with cancer. Through genetic testing I learned that I did not inherit the BRCA gene. So the question I am left grappling with is what impact did toxic chemicals in the environment have on me? An even greater question is how are toxic chemicals impacting all of us?
I implore our governor, state legislature, business, and community leaders to address toxic chemicals in our environment. We are a state made of people who care deeply about the environment. Vermont leaders need to work as hard to fix this issue as many of our citizens are working to defeat cancer. The time has come for Vermont to be a leader in this conversation.