By Scott T. Sterling
Survivor Stories is a series featuring interviews with breast cancer survivors — or their family members — about their battle.
Stephanie Pendray dreamed of becoming a mother. Despite receiving a breast cancer diagnosis on three separate occasions, she never lost sight of that dream.
Pendray was diagnosed at ages 26, 36 and 37, but after beating the disease for the third time she and her husband Steve continued their journey to start a family.
A woman named Melissa from her online infertility support group stepped forward and offered to be the couple’s surrogate. It would prove to be a life-changing moment.
“The first ultrasound, my husband, her husband, myself, we all were gathered there in the room and discovered that it was twins! My husband and I and our dog moved down to Georgia to be there,” Pendray said. “We didn’t want to miss that birth for anything in the world.”
Today the twins, Brooke and Robbie, and two and a half and Stephanie is cancer free.
Stephanie is sharing her story to inspire others to be persistent and to know that breast cancer doesn’t discriminate by age. “When people think breast cancer, they think of their grandmas or their moms. They don’t think about their sisters, girlfriends or wives in the 20s or 30s.”
CBS Radio and The Young Survivor Coalition are once again raising awareness through their 5th We Can Survive Concert at the Hollywood Bowl.
“There’s a quarter of a million women living in this country who were diagnosed before they were 40 and that’s a lot of young women,” explains Jennifer Merschdorf, CEO of YSC and a breast cancer survivor.
“The most important thing for young women to know is that young women can get breast cancer. Know your status,” Merschdorf continues. “None of us are safe from this disease. Do self-exams, and there are plenty of us out there and plenty of organizations.”
In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, for every ticket sold, $2 will benefit Young Survival Coalition, the premier organization dedicated to the critical issues unique to young women who are diagnosed with breast cancer. YSC offers resources, connections and outreach so women feel supported, empowered and hopeful.