New Bern woman shares incredible cancer story in 'Glamour'
NEW BERN, Craven County - Beth Fairchild, 36, of New Bern was first diagnosed roughly 17 months ago with stage IV breast cancer, or Metastatic Breast Cancer.
Stage IV means the cancer has spread to other parts of the body like the liver, brain, etc. An estimated 155,000 Americans are currently living with metastatic breast cancer. Metastatic breast cancer accounts for approximately 40,000 deaths annually in the U.S., according to the Metastatic Breast Cancer Network.
CLICK HERE: for a gallery of photos from Fairchild's "Glamour" shoot
From the start, Fairchild says her case has always been unique. She's referred to in the medical world as a "zebra," meaning very rare in everyday appearance. Current scans show no evidence of disease but doctors know it's there.
"As long as it's not spreading I remain stable," Fairchild said.
Upon diagnosis, Fairchild received one aggressive round of chemotherapy then chose to stop. Currently Fairchild's only form of cancer-fighting treatment is a hormone-blocking drug and bone infusions that are conducted every several months. Fairchild knows according to the research, she's part of the seven percent who are diagnosed outright who will eventually die from this disease.
Enduring her own mother's breast cancer diagnosis, she thought she knew everything there was to know, until she became the patient.
"Here I was in the 'hot zone' diagnosed with metastatic cancer and so after I found out how under educated people were and how sorely understood metastatic research is I don't see it as an option to sit down and be quiet," Fairchild said.
Early on in her own case she made a choice to be an advocate for Metastatic research and education. She's become a board member and advocate for a non-profit organization known as Metavivor, traveling the country to spread the word about the facts of this deadly disease.
Within the last few months her strength and courage led her to an opportunity of large proportions. She had crossed paths with freelance photographer Christine Benjamin, who recruited Fairchild to a photo shoot for "Glamour" magazine's October issue.
"The magazine title, 'Glamour says it all!' It was the 24th floor of the new One World Trade Center," said Fairchild.
The issue was set to hit store shelves Sept. 15.
The article, "New Hope for Breast Cancer Cases" was written by Concepcion De Leon then published by Glamour. The article states, "The rate of patients under 40 with an initial diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer has almost doubled in the last three decades."
"It really set in, in NYC, being photographed and interviewed, that the work in advocacy I've been doing has really made a difference," Fairchild said.
Fairchild said she believes that she is living on "borrowed time" because she is 17 months into her projected 24 month life expectancy.
"If we don't voice our opinions and we don't talk about it then we're going to continue to lose 40,000 women per year." Fairchild said.
Roughly one year ago, she was bald, sickly and holding on to her fragile life. Now, her legacy is spreading from coast to coast.
"In the end, I will have won, because I didn't let cancer stop me from living my life. It may take my life in the end but right now I'm still in charge and I can still do what I want to do and I'm going to live that way, as long as I can," Fairchild said.
Fairchild is also an advocate for the organization, "New Bern Get Your Pink On," which raises money and awareness for local breast cancer patients in Eastern North Carolina. Click here to find out how you can fight the spread of breast cancer in the region.