Lakes are beautiful. They’re peaceful, they’re quiet (minus occasional water skiers), and they’re a wonderful place to go fishing, boating, or picnicking—depending on your style. But for Mary Gooze, they’re a place to make a difference for women diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer.
Mary is living with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer, and she knows that unless something changes, the disease will take her life. She was horrified to learn that in the United States, 113 women die from metastatic breast cancer every day.
“If a plane crashed with 113 people on it every single day, we would be up in arms. Money would be thrown at the airplane industry to find out what’s going on. And this is happening, and, and we’re not getting money. So that needs to stop,” she told Channel 3000 News.
Mary and her husband, Rob, want to change the options for women living with metastatic breast cancer. So Mary started swimming. So far she’s swum over 40 bodies of water, most of them lakes, and she plans to continue. “I can swim for hours,” she says. Less than seven percent of cancer research money goes into metastatic breast cancer research, and Mary wants that to change. When she meets women with early stage breast cancer who fear someday developing metastasis, she says that her condition is their worst nightmare.
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Her goal is to raise one million dollars for research so that women in her situation have more options. She doesn’t know if the research will be able to advance quickly enough for new drugs to be available in her lifetime, or if what she’s doing now will go on to help her daughter, granddaughter, and other women. “That’s something you do as a human being—you help others,” she says.
Mary is living with breast cancer, but also dying with it. She wants to raise as much awareness as possible while she still has time left. She blogs, she encourages other women, and she even staged a die-in demonstration to show just how big of an impact metastatic breast cancer has every day. And she swims, boy, does she swim!
Keep on swimming, Mary.