"The truth is," Tammy Myers said, "breast cancer isn't limited to those who have a family history, high body weight, lower activity level—to those who consume more alcohol or even those who smoke. It can attack any woman, at any age."
Myers was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 33—but breast cancer touched her life long before her diagnosis. When Myers was 15, her aunt, in her late 30s at the time, passed away from breast cancer, leaving two young children without their mother.
"On the night that she passed, I made a promise to myself that if she couldn't be here to do all the good she was doing, then I would do that good for her," Myers said. "I promised that I would someday get involved with the cause—and that I would someday fight to lower the screening recommendation so that children like my cousins wouldn't have to lose their moms to cancer."
During Myers' initial year of treatment for her own diagnosis of breast cancer, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force pushed out the recommendation for regular breast screening from an already-late 40 to what could be a perilous 50.
"While I was lying on the biopsy table," Myers said, "I looked up at my radiologist and said, I'm going to fight this."
Over the past year and a half, that's exactly what Myers has done: She used her background in advertising and launched her campaign, "Forgotten Fighters," to fight to lower the recommended screening age for breast cancer.
Local women who have been touched by breast cancer, all under the age of 45, stepped forward with Myers and bared their scars to help raise awareness of how breast cancer can affect lives.
The campaign includes a behind-the-scenes teaser, a seven-minute video and a full website with links to sign a petition to reverse the screening recommendation.
"I realize that actually pushing the government to reconsider the recommended screening age is a lofty goal," Myers said. "My hope is that this campaign will go viral, and—at the very least—start a conversation and put breast cancer on the radar of young women."
Step forward. Bare your scars. Be a part of the change that will help give younger women a fighting chance against breast cancer. Join Forgotten Fighters.