Meet Mandi. Oh how this comes full circle. I’ve known Mandi now for over 15 years. She’s my friend, my husband’s sister, and bonus-my sister-in-law. Mandi found out she was pregnant with her second child early this year. She’s having a boy! With a 10-year-old daughter, she knew this addition would complete her precious family. Although being a single mother has its challenges, she’s never met a challenge she couldn’t handle.

In June of this year, Mandi felt something in her right breast. Being 27 weeks pregnant she assumed the milk ducts were calcified or this was just normal growth in the breast tissue with the pregnancy hormones. At her next OBGYN visit, Mandi’s doctor took a look and wanted to make sure these new lumps weren’t anything more serious.

After the ultrasound detected abnormal masses, Mandi went to a family friend who is an oncologist for further testing.  Not long after, she was in her car and then the unthinkable happens. Now Mandi was getting the call, “Mandi-you have breast cancer.” 

Mandi had just been alongside her best friend during her breast cancer journey as well as her step-mom, my mother-in-law. Both survivors of 5 years and she remembers like it was yesterday. Going to chemo treatments with them, appointments, radiation, all of which you never think in the moment – “will this happen to me?” In fact, the odds have to be pretty low right?

Mandi has zero family history of breast cancer. Doctors aren’t sure if the pregnancy hormones are what brought the cancer to surface, but regardless, it happened. It happened at 37 years old. It happened while 27 weeks pregnant. Another reminder that nobody is immune to breast cancer

Mandi was unable to share her story from her point of view. Fortunately, she carried a full-term pregnancy and delivered a healthy baby boy, Spencer, on August 15th. Although her delivery turned into an unexpected c-section, nothing gets this strong lady down. She has been recovering from the delivery and began her weekly chemo treatments last week.This past weekend, she was feeling ill with fever and aches and had to be hospitalized due to an extremely low white blood cell count. She is currently seeking treatment and will be hospitalized for the remainder of this week (or until her WBC count is in a safe range). 

We are all praying for her recovery as she has a long road ahead. Her positive attitude, continued optimism, and beautiful smile will certainly provide strength during this difficult time. 

On September 28th, Mandi’s community in Centralia Illinois, came together to show support. Her friends and family hosted a pasta dinner benefit with a live auction. A few hundred people from the community gathered together and were able to raise money that will help Mandi with caring for her newborn baby, medical treatments, and finances involved while taking any time away from work. She will have weekly chemo treatments for the remainder of this year followed by surgery and anything else her doctors deem necessary to fight this cancer. Please keep her and her precious family in your thoughts and prayers as she continues the fight. Above are photos from her benefit. Pictured are Mandi and my husband, Brian.

“She has been assigned this mountain to show others it can be moved.”

Moving Mountains with Mandi. 


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