'I was terrified to have that part of me taken away': Breast cancer survivor shares private struggle to help a Windsor fundraiser
Tawnya Jacob was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 27. (source:Instagram/Relentlessly Resilient)
The Lock Out Cancer campaign will start on May 1 for the Windsor Cancer Centre Foundation and one of their ambassadors doesn’t hold back on the reality of her fight with cancer.
“There’s a stigma out there that only older people can get it,” says Tawnya Jacob, who is just 28 years old.
In March 2020 she was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer.
“We caught it early,” she says. After her husband noticed a strange lump on her right breast.
After 16 rounds of chemo over 22 weeks at the Windsor Cancer Centre, Jacob then underwent a double mastectomy in September 2020.
“I’ll be honest. I was very terrified to have that part of me taken away,” says Jacob.
Today, six months cancer-free, Jacob says the plastic surgeon, Dr. Kristina Lutz did the unimaginable.
“She was able to make all of my dreams come true and make me feel like I’m still the woman I was before I had cancer.”
Throughout her cancer journey, Jacob posted about it all on her Instagram account called “Relentlessly Resilient.”
“I wanted to let the world know that this does happen and you can talk about it and there’s nothing to be afraid of,” she says.
So when the Cancer Foundation approached her to be a part of their 2021 campaign, Jacob jumped at the chance.
“The campaign is raising money for the reconstruction program, that I benefited from,” she says. “And that’s a big deal. A lot of people don’t realize that we have that here in Windsor.”
Throughout the month of May, donors can help in three ways; by making a donation, buying a decorative lock or purchasing jewelry at www.lockoutcancer.com.
Before the pandemic, the locks would all be added to the wall at the Cancer Centre’s Healing Garden.
But for now, donors are asked to put their lock somewhere around their own home, as a symbolic gesture.
Jacob hopes putting herself out there on social media will encourage other women to do their own breast exams, so it can be caught early.
“I realize that there is life after cancer,” she says. “And you can still live a happy, healthy life.”