A cancer diagnosis is assuredly a life-changing experience, but what happens when your receive that diagnosis when your life has just begun? When you are 14 years old and even plans for college seem a lifetime away? For Baltimore's, Mattie Bayne, the diagnosis of ovarian cancer at age 14 was a shock, but she learned to take control and not be defined by cancer.
"I couldn’t control cancer, but I could control how I faced the situation."
Mattie's story is too familiar in ovarian cancer circles - visits to doctor after doctor without getting any answers. Diagnosed with a rare Sertoli-Leydig cell tumor which presents itself in younger women, Mattie had to undergo surgery and several rounds of chemotherapy. With her last rounds of chemo completed in 2011, she is living the months in remission until she can be declared as cancer-free. She is more than passing the time.
She is on the board of directors of Baltimore Women's Classic, raising money and volunteering to help fight gynecological cancers. She is the outside hitter on the St. Paul's School for Girls volleyball team. She wasn't ready to give in.
That is what you will find when you are around ovarian cancer survivors. Women who want waste efforts on self-pity or what they can't control. Women who will put their strength and fighting spirit into living with grace - not ready to give in.