Brittany Whitman



I remember the day my life changed forever as clear as anyone would. It was a Friday afternoon, and I had spent the previous day at the Cleveland Clinic shivering in a hospital gown while doctors rushed in and out to perform imaging, biopsies, exams…. it was a whirlwind, and I knew it was bad. On that Friday, I spent the day running errands and keeping busy – I wasn’t expecting results until Monday. And then, in the frozen foods section at Whole Foods, the radiologists phone number popped up on my phone. This was it… It’s hard to attribute my strength that got me through that next year to one singular thing. I have an amazing family, a big group of friends, a wonderful boyfriend and a community here in Cleveland – all of which rallied around me. Over the next year, I endured more tests and procedures, disappointing results, surgeries, chemotherapy, reconstruction and would lose entire weeks from being weak and tired. I would not have survived most of those days without my wonderful support system, there is no doubt about that. But, thinking back to that day in the grocery store… what was the one thing that propelled me forward when I would have rather crawled into the corner not come back out? It was my future. I was 24, and I had grand plans. I had a budding career in finance, envisions of my wedding and my children, and the hopes of building a meaningful life for myself. I wasn’t going to let cancer take that away. Cancer was never in the plans, but sometimes life throws you a curve ball and the best we can do is use it to our advantage – someway, somehow. To this day, I still find strength in the promise of tomorrow and in working towards achieving the goals I have set for myself. I am working towards a promotion at work now that I am back full-time, and plan to begin training to become an indoor cycling instructor later this year. I have found a passion for inspiring women and using my voice to end this terrible disease and I hope to one day see the end of breast cancer. I am committed to living a proactive and healthy lifestyle, and I am doing everything I can do inspire other young women to do the same. I plan on getting married one day, and I am still hopeful to have children. I still have grand plans, and being faced with a life-threatening illness has shown me that every day is important in achieving my goals. I have learned to use each day to the fullest advantage and to never lose sight of what’s important – living a life of purpose. “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style” – Maya Angelou