Local woman living with cancer for 10 years hopes journey will help educate, advocate

Kate Crawford isn’t holding back in celebrating and commemorating a milestone.

For 10 years, the Rostraver mom has been living with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. Her doctor estimates she’s one of only 10% of women living with the advanced cancer.

“It is a miracle to be sitting here talking to you about it,” said Kate. “I think it’s really important to share my story to be a source of hope.”

Because her cancer journey didn’t start out that way. When Kate was diagnosed in 2013, the cancer had already spread to her bones and liver and was in both breasts.

“When I asked the doctor at the time if I was going to die all she could say to me at the time was ‘we’re going to try to not let that happen,’” said Kate.

Doctors told the then 28-year-old she would be extremely lucky to live 18 to 24 months.

“If it wasn’t for the amazing advances that even here in Pittsburgh that we make, I would not be here,” Kate told us.

More than 150 chemo treatments in, Kate goes every three weeks to get Herceptin, which her doctor, Dr. Diane Buchbarker with Allegheny Health Network, calls a breakthrough.

“She just happened to be one of the fortunate patients who benefitted from that particular drug,” said Dr. Buchbarker, Bethel AHN Cancer Center & Medical Director of Operations of Oncology Cancer Centers. “Now there are probably five or six drugs in that category that have been made to keep these patients living with cancer for years and years.”

A bucket list also keeps Kate going.

“At first I just had things like I wanted to teach them how to ride a bike, I just wanted to see the girls go to kindergarten,” said the mom of four.

Now her twin daughters just went to their first high school dance.

“I spent two hours putting together a balloon arc because if I don’t make it to prom, I had this Christmas dance,” said Kate. “My life revolves around making memories with my kids.”

Because her daughters Grace & Lilly, her son Stephen, and her daughter Shannon in heaven have shaped her.

Her husband, Steve is her hero.

“He’s mom when I can’t be mom,” said Kate.

Plus, the support she’s gotten from organizations has inspired Kate to give back, educate, and advocate for all kinds of cancer.

“It’s important because it drives new programs and it helps advance science,” said Dr. Buchbarker.

To hopefully help more women battling breast cancer live longer, like Kate.

“Maybe you’ll see me and you’ll say, ‘yeah, Kate did it, so I know I can do it too.’”

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