Melissa Kerber, Team Leader of Amy’s Angels, Delves Further into Awareness and MORE THAN PINK Campaign
“This can happen to anyone: any age, any gender, any race.”
Melissa Kerber, a member of our community and team captain of Amy’s Angels, wants to stress this message and let it be known that breast cancer can happen to anyone. Melissa and her family are all too familiar with cancer diagnosis, unfortunately. “You cope and deal with it differently when you have already been through the process multiple times,” Melissa said.
At the age of 35, Melissa’s sister-in-law, Amy, was diagnosed with breast cancer. As Amy was battling breast cancer, Melissa started the Amy’s Angels team which has raised nearly $30,000 over the past decade. Unfortunately at the age of 38, Amy lost her battle to breast cancer leaving a husband and two young children behind. Melissa and the entire Amy’s Angels Team made a commitment to continue each year, honoring Amy’s memory and strength and helping to make a difference in the fight against breast cancer.
All these years later, Amy’s fight is what inspires Melissa in all that she does for breast cancer and the community. She admired how her sister-in-law never let cancer get in the way of being a mother and supporting her children. Amy isn’t the only inspiration behind Melissa and Amy’s Angels. Along with other family members who were diagnosed and either recovered or lost their battle, Melissa’s Great Uncle was also diagnosed with breast cancer. He was having an unrelated surgery when doctors discovered breast cancer. Had he not received this surgery, they may have found it much too late.
“This can happen to anyone: any age, any gender, any race,” Melissa said. She stresses that education is the most important part of awareness. This includes knowing where, how, and how often one should get tested. “We have to break the ‘it can’t happen to me’ stigma,” Melissa said.
Melissa has had personal experience with how difficult it can be to navigate the system and that Susan G. Komen is a resource. A few years ago, Melissa needed a biopsy and was uninsured at the time. She called Susan G. Komen for help and she was given direction and was connected to the right people to help her.
For Melissa and the Amy’s Angels team, breast cancer is so much more than just a pink ribbon. Melissa said, “It’s more than just a color. It’s the doctors, healthcare workers, and groups like Komen. It is about making a difference and change for the better.”
Melissa joined the 2020 MORE THAN PINK Walk not only for her loved ones that have battled this disease but for everyone this disease has and will affect in the future. For her, the Walk symbolizes a great community that has each other’s backs no matter what. She draws inspiration from the power of the event and the strength of the survivors and those living with metastatic breast cancer. It is the same strength and resilience she admired in Amy.
She encourages everyone to experience and join and donate to the MORE THAN PINK Walk because it educates our community about breast cancer, personal risk and the incredible ways the community is helped through funds raised. These events truly show all the great things that donations and the willingness to share information can do.
Melissa has tirelessly led Amy’s Angels throughout the years because she feels that if we are able to find out why the disease occurs, and how to prevent it — one day figure out how to end it for good. She lives in hope that her niece and daughter live to see a day where we live in a world without breast cancer.