I was born on June 26th, 1989 in Tucson, Arizona. I grew up in Dundee, Illinois and went on to attend Loyola Academy in Wilmette. As a member of the soccer team, I was a three-time all sectional player and an Army Reserve-Scholar Athlete Award winner. Senior year, I was named team captain alongside my best friend while also garnering Midwest All-American honors. During my career we won three conference championships and one regional championship.
I attended Princeton University from 2007-2011 and had the privilege to captain the Women’s Soccer Team my junior and senior year. In my sophomore year, my team won the Ivy League Championship and I was presented with the Don Betterton Unsung Hero award, voted on by my teammates. I graduated Princeton with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology.
Post graduation, I began my career back in Chicago, joining E&J Gallo Winery’s Management Development Program working for Wirtz Beverage Illinois. I've enjoyed learning about the wine industry, and after hard work and a lot of studying, I successfully passed the Certified Specialist of Wine Exam. I've also continued to play and enjoy the sport that I love with friends in co-ed soccer leagues on Chicago’s lakefront.
On August 7th 2013, a week that started like any other, my journey for a CURE began. It started with sudden, excruciating pain in my lower left abdomen that prompted me to go to the ER at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Following a weekend there, doctors conducted a series of CT scans, blood work, and biopsies to determine the diagnosis for a mass on my left kidney. Up to this point in time, I had a clean medical history and tremendous health so I was stunned to learn on August 29th, 2013 that I had an extremely rare form of cancer called Renal Medullary Carcinoma. The following day, doctors at Northwestern Memorial successfully removed my left kidney and 41 lymph nodes. My first WIN came when doctors confirmed that all 41 lymph nodes were cancer free and all margins surrounding the kidney were clear. Renal Medullary Carcinoma is an extremely rare cancer that has only more recently been categorized in the field of renal cancers. Usually associated with sickle cell trait, my diagnosis of RMC is made even more unusual since I don't possess the trait. As one doctor conjectured, I could be “one-in-many-million.” With mostly unknowns surrounding my diagnosis, I've been working with my team comprised of doctors, labs, scientists, family and friends throughout the country. I've also sought opinions from the University of Chicago, MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.
Although my life has taken on a new course, since the day I was diagnosed I've been strengthened and inspired by the unwavering support from family and friends across the country. My recovery from surgery was a true test of my will as my body fought to reboot and my mind embraced a new reality. With the steadfast commitment of family and friends, I am determined to FIGHT TO WIN. With your help, my team and I will find a CURE.