In November of 2009, at the age of 30, Michelle was diagnosed with a very rare form of thyroid cancer called Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma. The cancer had already spread throughout both of her lungs classifying it as advanced stage cancer. There is no known cure for medullary thyroid cancer and it is not responsive to traditional chemotherapy.
After researching specialists, Michelle found Dr. Marcia Brose at the University of Pennsylvania.; Although a few experimental treatments were being studied, due to side effects and impact to quality of life, the best course of action for Michelle was to monitor the cancer and continue living life until there were signs of progression.
In December of 2010 there was slight progression in a lymph node and Dr. Brose recommended starting a treatment program. In March of 2011 Michelle started on an experimental treatment designed to block the blood supply to the cancer cells and prevent its ability to grow and spread. Unfortunately, the cancer will build up a resistance to this drug and Michelle will need another treatment option. There are a few drugs currently in clinical trials that show effectiveness for approximately two years. Until an actual cure is found, Michelle will need to remain on a treatment to fight the cancer for the rest of her life.
Rather than sit back and wait Michelle decided to get involved and help in finding a cure for thyroid cancer. In August of 2011 she created the REACT Thyroid Foundation.
If you'd like to learn more about Michelle's inspiring journey watch this video of her key note address to over 500 people at the Whirlpool Corporation National Sales Conference in 2012.