Forever Fighters: Stage IV Breast Cancer Patients
Friends, Jet Mitchell and Kelly Trolia, aren’t letting Stage IV cancer diagnoses slow them down.
In fact, their diagnoses actually brought them together.
And now, the Comprehensive Cancer Centers patients are bringing a powerful message of love, unity and support to fellow survivors and the broader Southern Nevada community.
Jet was diagnosed in 2015 with Stage IIIB breast cancer and again in 2016 with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer. Kelly was diagnosed in June 2017 with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer that spread to her bones. She recently underwent a double mastectomy, radiation treatment, removal of her ovaries and will have breast reconstruction just in time for her 50th birthday.
According to BreastCancer.org, approximately one in eight U.S. women will develop breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. In Nevada, the American Cancer Society projects that 2,190 residents will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. A Stage IV diagnosis is serious, with a five-year survival rate of approximately 22 percent. While breast cancer death rates declined nearly 40 percent between 1989 and 2016, the quest for a cure continues.
In addition to the life-saving treatments that exist and are still to be explored, there is no denying the power of human connection.
Jet and Kelly were first connected when Kelly asked if there were any support groups for metastatic breast cancer fighters, or forever fighters, in the area. We immediately thought of Jet, who is part of a “Metavivors” group among several other inspirational community and personal endeavors which includes being a member of the Pink Paddlers Dragon Boat team, a group of breast cancer fighters that meet at Lake Las Vegas every other Monday for rowing and support. Since her cancer diagnosis, Jet has also run a half-marathon in all 50 states and has a passion for supporting American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and other advocacy efforts throughout the state, country and world.
While Kelly was equipped with the spark of a forever fighter, she needed to connect with someone that fully understood her situation.
She found that connection and more in Jet and with the Metavivors group. The group is comprised of Stage IV metastatic breast cancer fighters and convenes to discuss not only the treatments that individuals are undergoing, side effects, and assistance available, but they also celebrate the positive moments of life too.
Since their initial meeting, Jet and Kelly’s friendship has blossomed, and the dynamic duo has been on the frontlines of several fundraising and awareness events in the community.
In May, Jet and Kelly were recognized during the Mission Moment of the Coaches vs. Cancer Las Vegas Golf Classic, which raises awareness and funds for cancer and cancer research. In January, they dropped the ceremonial puck at the Ice Vegas Invitational and in December, the friends were honored on-court and alongside other survivors and patients at T-Mobile Arena during the annual Coaches vs. Cancer basketball tournament. In October 2018, Jet and Kelly were part of a moving event where several patients of Comprehensive Cancer Centers helped shave Vegas Golden Knights star Pierre-Edouard Bellemare’s head to kick off Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Jet and Kelly are both fun, intelligent and inspiring women. While they are both on a serious path, they are having fun along the way, seemingly making the most of each and every minute.
They are living proof that Stage IV cancer fighters can continue to lead active lives, sometimes in the most amazing ways possible through building friendships and a sense of community.