FullSizeRender (1)Three small words made a big impact on Anna Rudder’s life when she heard, “you have cancer” in September 2014 at the young age of 25.

She had just finished out the summer at the beach with friends, when she felt a lump on her breast. Her friends who were nurses suggested she see a physician to get a second opinion. Anna visited her primary doctor, who then referred her to a radiologist to get an ultrasound. Anna was given the option to undergo surgery to remove the mass. Initially, the radiologist said all results looked good, but a few days later pathology report results came back positive for breast cancer.

Immediately, a surgical specialist at Carolinas Medical Center referred Anna to an oncologist at the Levine Cancer Institute, who then suggested she start fertility preservation treatments right away due to the possibility that chemotherapy could rend her infertile. Anna’s fertility doctor then connected her to the LIVESTRONG Foundation (LSF) because he believed she would be a good candidate for their female fertility preservation program. Anna applied and within days was accepted to receive full funding from LSF to receive daily hormone shots that would stimulate egg growth and for the removal surgery. Anna’s eggs remain frozen and are kept preserved by a yearly fee Anna must pay.

After her egg removal surgery, Anna was given a treatment program that consisted of 20 rounds of chemotherapy and 33 treatments of radiation. Anna has undergone surgery to remove the lump, as well as her lymph nodes. Anna said her focus throughout the process was to maintain a sense of normalcy by continuing to work full time as an administrator at Siemens and hang out with her friends in her spare time.

“This experience has taught me that life is so unexpected and you can’t always prepare for the future,” said Anna Rudder, 25-year old Charlottean fighting breast cancer. “As far as access to resources and having a support system, it has been great and I can’t complain.”

Looking back over the experience, Anna wishes she would have utilized more of the programs offered by LCI, such as their integrative oncology services, and suggests that others going through treatment at the center should use them to their benefit.

Anna’s access to resources from the start of her diagnosis through treatment is largely in part due to the funds raised by 24 Foundation. When you give to 24 Foundation you are putting money right back into our community giving to your neighbors, such as Anna. 24 Foundation funds the Integrative Oncology Clinic at the Levine Cancer Institute and Patient Navigation programs at the LIVESTRONG Foundation.

Let’s fight cancer together. Help 24 Foundation keep the impact going locally and nationally – donate here.