I Survived Breast Cancer by Natalie Gerber

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Three years ago this June at age 28, I was shockingly diagnosed with breast cancer. From that moment, I was determined to beat this both physically and emotionally. I was always a positive person. I knew this would be an uphill battle but would not let the grueling treatment process make me a bitter person, because then cancer would have won even if I had eradicated the disease. I wanted to look to the future when I would be myself again. My husband and I had been married for 2 years and had a 6 month old son. The diagnosis brought up the question of infertility. We had hopes of expanding our family in the future. While choosing a cancer treatment plan, I harvested my eggs to ensure the possibility of more children. I needed to keep life as normal as possible and just be myself.

In moments of good health, I took every opportunity to play with my son, invite guests for Shabbat meals, and relax at the beach. However, I knew that I could not do this alone. I wanted my friends and family in L.A. around me to celebrate the good times in life. I needed them to support me through the trying times as well. I knew that my community was an integral part of this journey, but I didn’t realize how powerful it would be until I saw the response to my cousin running the NYC 5K SCHLEP sponsored by American Friends of Rabin Medical Center. In ten days she had a big team of runners and raised over $36,000 for the breast cancer screening and prevention program at Israel’s Rabin Medical Center. The runners’ generosity gave me a huge boost to undergo my first chemotherapy treatment. I had a circle of family, friends, and even strangers fighting along with me, which made a grueling 18 months of chemo treatment, radiation, and multiple surgeries more bearable.

After my treatment ended, my husband and I decided to bring new life into our family. Through the generosity of an amazing surrogate, we were blessed with two beautiful babies.

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