Meet Marlene

Atlantic Region Ambassador Marlene King was born in Jamaica, West Indies and moved to Washington, DC with her family at the age of 13. She has been married to Eric for twenty-eight years and has three sons Eric, II, Bryant and Aston, a granddaughter Taylor and grandson Xavier. She currently resides in Northwest Baltimore. Despite no family history of heart disease or breast cancer; at the age of 39 she suffered a heart attack and at the age of 49 (in April 2008), she was given a Stage 0 (DCIS) breast cancer diagnosis. After years of keeping the cancer at bay, in July 2012 Marlene was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer.

Q: Tell me a little about how your advocacy began.

Marlene: Getting a metastatic breast cancer diagnosis was very emotional, of course. I was able to find lots of information from my medical staff but absolutely no emotional support.  Knowing what I went through, I want to help women and men find the emotional support that is needed when learning you’ve been diagnosed with metastatic cancer with the medical information they get from their doctors.

Q. You’ve been involved in lots of organizations – the American Red Cross, the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association and more! What did you find at METAvivor that was different?

Marlene: At METAvivor my fears and concerns were heard and I found real help. I had so many questions and fears when I was diagnosed - questions regarding life expectancy, types of treatments that were available, and how to figure out which might be most beneficial. Because of METAvivor, I was able to proceed with confidence. METAvivor provides resources and support for both survivors and reliable information.  The METAvivor research grant program directs 100% of research funding to doctors developing treatment for metastatic breast cancer.

Q. What do you think METAvivor does best?

Marlene: In addition to our research grants, we empower metastatic breast cancer survivors and offer support to caregivers. We are a vital link for those who are newly diagnosed or having a difficult time in treatment. We continue to spread the word that there is life after being diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. 

Q. And personally? What is your biggest challenge?

Marlene: My biggest anxiety is waiting to hear the reading of my quarterly pet/ct scan regarding my improvement. Nonetheless, I am an optimist. I feel that life can be similar to a hit and run accident leaving you unable to get up –BUT – you keep getting up!

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