Jody Schoger was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1998. While Jody was dealing with the disease, going through chemotherapy sessions and breast surgery, as well as a life-threatening infection after the surgery, she felt alone and isolated. However, Jody not only won her fight against breast cancer, but she also became one of the most prominent advocates for the disease in the USA.
Born in The Woodlands, Texas, Jody described herself as a writer and blogger, but also an optimist and breast cancer advocate who worked everyday for a better world, one word at a time. She decided not to deal with the disease alone and to not let anyone else fight it alone either. Therefore, she started her blog Women With Cancer, and co-founded a Twitter group called Breast Cancer Social Media or #BCSM. Soon, she understood just how much her help was needed by the breast cancer community.
Women were eager for information and support about breast cancer. Jody presented the results of her work at a medical conference in 2014 and stated that she and her collaborators organized 229 Twitter chats over the course of five years, recruited top medical experts to answer patients’ questions, and received an average of 700 tweets during the hour-long conversations. The #BCSM hashtag was used over 416,000 times by more than 38,000 people, as reported by USA Today.
Jody believed that while 60% of all breast cancer patients would not attend a support group, they were willing to follow a Twitter chat. During this time, Jody dedicated her life to providing breast cancer patients with information about the disease and helping connect patients with each other. She was an example for women everywhere. Until 2013 her story of survival was an inspiration when sadly, her breast cancer returned, and she then became a symbol of the fight against the disease.
“I was doing what I do every day: advocating for breast cancer survivors through various social and traditional media outlets. I advocate, write, review grants, educate, read research studies and, yes, even joke about it when conditions are right,” wrote Jody in 2013. “Until this year. Last Christmas, there were some physical changes I couldn’t ignore. I blamed a sudden weight loss on stress.
“It simply did not register that cancer was about to re-enter my life after a 15-year remission. But it did. I was diagnosed with metastatic lobular breast cancer on my annual visit to MD Anderson’s Survivorship Clinic in April.” After 15 years into remission, Jody Schoger’s breast cancer returned. She died on May 18, at the age of 61 surrounded by her family and friends. The breast cancer community is mourning her loss.
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