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MAKING A MARK: Metastatic Breast Cancer survivor shares message of hope

Newsha Dau was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer at age 44. Now, she's pushing other survivors to make the most of every moment.

NORFOLK, Va. — Newsha Dau said she gets her strength from her family.

"I am a wife, a mother of one," she said. 

"My family helps me keep fighting every day. When I'm having a bad day, I think back to the team that we have and the adventures that we have together, and how many more of those I want to have."

Dau was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016. Four years later, after spending time in remission, she learned the breast cancer had returned. 

It was triple positive (ER-, PR-, and HER2- positive) and had spread to other parts of her body. 

"It came back in my bones," Dau said. "And I'm metastatic. I have metastatic breast cancer."

Dau said the diagnosis was devastating.

"I was shocked, absolutely shocked," Dau said.  

"And I was incredibly sad because I thought, for sure, metastatic means death."

"So, I thought in my mind, 'I just want to make sure I see my daughter off to college, and then, I'm okay,'" said Dau. "She's 13 now."

But with the help of her family and medical team, Dau was able to finally come to terms with her new normal.

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"It's taken me a while to accept that I have this metastatic breast cancer," said Dau. "Although I have a long-term relationship with it, it is under control."

Dau said she first learned of Here for the Girls, a nonprofit improving the lives of women diagnosed with breast cancer under age 51, when her doctor gave her a copy of the group's A Calendar to Live By.

"I went to a meeting. And there, I found so much solace and comradery and fun,' said Dau. "I also made lifelong friends."

Dau said she soon got more involved with the organization.

"I became a calendar ambassador and raised money for Here for the Girls," said Dau. "I also became a facilitator of a support group."

"Here for the Girls formed a diversity, equity, and inclusion committee, and I became a part of that," said Dau. "And all these things have helped with my healing."

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While the journey has been challenging, Dau said learning to live with metastatic breast cancer has changed her perspective on life for the better.

"Every day, I could be sad and worried about when am I going to die, but... I have to grab every opportunity and take advantage of every opportunity I can se," said Dau "I am optimistic that I'm going to live a long, long time with metastatic breast cancer."

Here for the Girls is hosting a Facebook Live panel discussion with its health partners called "In the Know", and it focuses on young women and breast cancer. Then event will be held October 20th at 6:30p.m. Click here to learn more or register.

The Here for the Girls 2023 A Calendar to Live By is available for purchase. It shares the stories of survivors, provides breast health guidance, and offers advice for other young women newly diagnosed with breast cancer. Proceeds support the group. Click here for more information, or email info@hereforthegirls.org to purchase a copy.

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