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BY MINNESOTA STATE CAPTAIN CASSIE CRAMER
I was diagnosed with MBC three and half years ago. This diagnosis came 16 years after my early-stage breast cancer diagnosis. My first three years of living with MBC was spent trying to figure out how to live in the face of death. Simply, how to keep going. While my husband became active with METAvivor, I sat on the sidelines until 2021 when I was encouraged to serve as the Stampede captain for Minnesota.
For me, serving as a captain was a great way to give back to a broad community of women who support and guide me during my Stage IV journey. From women whose blogs I’ve read but never met in person, to thrivers in my support group who cheer me on and lift me up, to my sisters and my nieces and to others who may at some point receive a Stage IV diagnosis - - this work was for them.
I found it inspiring to see others from my state and across the country get involved in the Stampede. Team Minnesota was eight strong and reached across five of Minnesota’s eight congressional districts.
While it never worked for the MN group to meet via Zoom, I was able to communicate with participants one-on-one and determine how and when they wanted to be involved. Several women decided to reach out to their congressperson via email. Several left phone messages at the office. And some sent letters. The materials created by METAvivor made it easy to craft emails, talking points and letters to elected officials that members of the MN team could customize and use to reach out. Six of Minnesota’s congresspeople and both senators were contacted by our group. Seven members of the House and both Senators signed on to support the Metastatic Breast Cancer Access to Care Act. And, Minnesota US Senator Tina Smith was the lead sponsor for the Cancer Drug Parity Act. We are feeling supported and heard here in Minnesota!
Despite the restrictions placed on our efforts by Covid-19, team Minnesota was able to make a difference and garner support for METAvivor’s legislative agenda. Looking forward to next year!
First-time Minnesota State Captain