"I really believe we're moving toward a cure for cancer," says Eliza Adams. "And I'm grateful for all the opportunities I get to be a part of that."
Eliza, who is living with metastatic breast cancer, has spent the last year devoting herself to breast cancer advocacy and support. On Sunday, September 13, 2015, she will be awarded the inaugural "Thriver Award" at the Susan G. Komen Greater NYC's 25th Annual Race for the Cure.
When Eliza was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer eleven years ago, she didn't allow it to change her life. She underwent treatment and continued working. But after she was diagnosed 2.5 years ago with metastatic cancer, she felt the need to take a different approach.
"About a year ago, I decided to focus on my health and curing cancer -- my own and others'," she said.
Eliza took a leave from her job and attended Project Lead, National Breast Cancer Coalition's science course on breast cancer, where she met SHARE's Breast Cancer Program Director Christine Benjamin.
Eliza also became a patient advocate for Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) with the Translational Breast Cancer Research Consortium, where she offers the patient perspective in reviews of clinical trials.
She is also a volunteer with SHARE, working as a SHARE Helpline volunteer and a co-facilitator for SHARE's evening telephone support group for women living with metastatic disease.
Through her connections with MSKCC, SHARE and MBCN, Eliza helped coordinate last June's Metastatic Meetup, which brought over 100 people together for education and networking. She also attended Project Lead's weeklong institute this summer and has been participating in focus groups led by the Metastatic Breast Cancer Alliance.
"If I'm offered the chance to become involved in anything that advances the cure, I say 'yes,'" she says. She said yes to joining a meditation group for people with cancer and a dragon boat team for breast cancer survivors.
And she also said yes when representatives from Susan G. Komen told her they would like to honor her with their inaugural "Thriver Award," recognizing a woman with Stage IV breast cancer who doesn't sugarcoat the hardships of living with the disease but recognizes there is hope that can be found throughout her struggles and encourages other Stage IV women.
"All of the people I've met are so engaged in what they're doing to fight this disease," she said. "It's a really exciting place to put my energy."
If you'd like to be there when Eliza gets her award, sign up for the race and join her. Free registration is available for women living with metastatic disease by clicking here and entering the code, "SHARE"