Forgotten fighters was born out of a promise that Tammy Myers made the night her aunt passed away from breast cancer. More than 20 years ago, Pamela Yurgens was only in her late 30’s when she found lump in her breast. She was told that she was far too young to have breast cancer. Unfortunately, Pamela was eventually diagnosed with late-stage breast cancer – and lost her battle two years later, leaving two small children without their mother. Tammy made a promise to herself, and to her aunt and role model, that she would someday get involved with a cause and, most importantly, fight for young women by fighting to lower the breast cancer screening age and push for early detection measures in young women.
Tammy had reason to become even more passionate about her promise when, years later, she too was diagnosed with breast cancer at the young age of 33. Since her aunt was not blood-related, Tammy had no family history of the disease. While lying on the biopsy table, Tammy looked up at the diagnostic radiologist and said, “I am going to fight this screening age recommendation!”
During this same time, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended that women should be regularly screened for breast cancer starting at age of 40. This already would have been 7 years too late for Tammy. Then, incredibly, during her initial year of treatment, the recommendations took a giant leap backwards by raising the recommended screening age from 40 to 50. This only strengthened Tammy’s determination to make good on her promise to her aunt and fight for early detection for young women like herself who were literally fighting for their lives.
As Tammy fought her way through chemotherapy and radiation treatments, as well as several surgeries, the Forgotten Fighters gave her the drive she needed to keep going on even the hardest days.