From one day to the next, Brandi Garetson’s life took a course of its own due to a drastic shift in her health. In March 2016, Garetson went to the doctor with abdominal pains, which she suspected could be issues with her gallbladder. A few tests and a chest scan later, it was by default that the doctor revealed to her that she had lumps in her breasts. She then heard the words that all women fear the most: “breast cancer.”
She was only 40 years old. This was supposed to be a prime year in her life – a time that she should have been focusing on her 18-year-old daughter’s high school graduation and her 17-year-old son’s final years in high school, instead of fighting breast cancer.
A now single mom, she faced many of life’s curveballs in addition to her cancer, such as being laid off from her job and struggling to pay bills, that added unnecessary stress while fighting this terrible disease. It’s when she didn’t know where else to turn that the Susan G. Komen South Central Wisconsin Affiliate stepped in to help provide funds for Garetson’s rent, car payment and home utilities. In turn, this helped her to financially, physically and emotionally focus on her treatment.
“I don’t have enough ‘thank yous’ for all the financial help that Komen provided me being a single mom, going through this horrible time in my life,” she said. “I’m only 40 – I’m supposed to be enjoying life with my children. I can’t say enough about how important help like Komen’s is for women like me.”
Help from this particular Komen Affiliate alleviated many of Garetson’s worries, which allowed her to continue holding her head high and channel her energy toward her fight. With stage 2 breast cancer, she says she takes what each day gives her and leans on her biggest support system: her family and friends.
Last year, Susan G. Komen’s community grants provided financial and social support for more than 267,000 families impacted by breast cancer. It’s people like who help make impact stories, like Brandi Garetson’s, possible.