Together We Thrive: A Gala for Metastatic Breast Cancer Research


The Metastatic Breast Cancer Collaborative Research Initiative is a first-of-its-kind program that will ignite collaboration and fast track research for patients living with metastatic breast cancer, the only breast cancer that kills. Funds raised will catalyze collaborative research between two world-class cancer research institutions in the Triangle area of North Carolina: Duke Cancer Institute and UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. Our end goal is to give families and patients the priceless gift of time by beginning to transform MBC from terminal to chronic while ultimately searching for the cures. Learn More Here.

Meet Our Gala Co-Chairs

Rhonda & Adam Howell

Rhonda & Adam Howell are both natives of North Carolina and have been married for 9 years. They have one son, who will turn 8 in May.

Rhonda was originally diagnosed with Stage II breast cancer at age 34 when their son was just 15 months old. After a double mastectomy, 4 rounds of chemotherapy, 35 radiation treatments, and taking daily tamoxifen, she was declared cancer-free. However, 2 years later, in 2015, Rhonda was diagnosed with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer, with metastases to her liver and bones. She was 36 years old, and their son was 3. Rhonda has now been fighting metastatic breast cancer for 4.5 years, and recently celebrated her 41st birthday.

Rhonda desperately wants to live to see their son grow up! So, Adam & Rhonda are very passionate about raising funding for metastatic breast cancer research. To date, they have raised $250,000 for MBC research, and are excited to partner with Susan G. Komen NCTC to continue this mission!

Who is Living with Metastatic Breast Cancer?

Stephanie Walker

Life happens and a new normal unfolds.
As with most people, life sometimes gets in the way. Apparently that is what happened to me in December 2014. So when I realized that I hadn’t gotten my yearly mammogram at my birthday time (December 23), it was already June 2015.

I received a call from the breast center and the caller said I had an abnormal exam. Oops … wrong number. She called back and again asked my name and birthdate and repeated “abnormal mammogram.” I listened and decided to please her and make an appointment for a diagnostic mammogram on June 30. Well, both ultrasound and mammogram were abnormal on my right breast, so a biopsy was performed on July 7, 2015.

The waiting was tough. Started my work week – I’m a hospice nurse – been doing hospice for 9 years and nursing for over 35 years. On July 9, 2015, at 1510 pm my phone rang and they knew I wanted the results over the phone so there it was: Invasive Ductal Carcinoma Stage 2. What???? Who???? Me???? I can’t have breast cancer, no family history, I did everything I was told to do, self-exams, mammograms, etc…then found out…I have bone metastasis.  READ MORE 


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