Fierce, Fighting Fridays

“Meet” the many incredible young adults who are not just surviving but THRIVING in life; all while facing cancer!

We’d love to feature YOU; click ThrivrLife@gmail.com to get started! Read below read our featured Thrivers!

Helen King

My biggest challenge has been dealing with the emotional / mental impact of my cancer diagnosis. Everything changed – my body, the way I feel in the world, relationships, my ability to work. It has forced me to face a lot of things because you realize how precious life is.

Brielle Mastroianni

I always told people if they felt uncomfortable with a joke I made, sometime my humor is pretty dark, I would rather laugh than cry and not let intrusive thoughts and/or feelings damper my spirits. The days you wake up feeling good or strong; make those last by any means necessary. Laugh, create, find reasons to smile. Remember, it’s life and you’ve been gifted with a reprieve from the clouds and rain.

Matthew Strother

I am a dual-citizen of America and New Zealand. Pre-diagnosis I was living what felt like a well-balanced life in Brooklyn, New York. I spent half the week working as a private tutor for high schoolers, teaching kids grammar, the art of the essay, and some smatterings of history, French, and German. The other half of the week, I pursued my own reading and writing projects. For leisure, there was some CrossFit, some yoga, haunting natural wine bars, and highly competitive board game nights with friends.

chelsey gomez

Prior to being diagnosed the first time I was a 28 year old mother to a 2 year old. I was working full time and trying to juggle everything. I was a workaholic to a point and at one time even worked 60-70 hours a week. I remember thinking I didn’t have time to be sick… 

Katy Smith

Hello Thrivrs! I’m Katy. I live in Albany, NY. I’m a chemo nurse and a chemo patient. I love being outdoors, hiking and kayaking, reading, and baking fancy pastries. I’d really like a dog and some sheep someday, but for now I live in an apartment in the city.

Jordan Millar

Prior to my son’s diagnosis, I was an active health-conscious chiropractor who loves hiking, nature, animals, and travelling. Then cancer hit our family when my son was diagnosed with leukemia at age 3. I also had an 11 month old daughter who was still nursing. We went through 3.5 years of chemotherapy and lumbar punctures for him which was extremely stressful and heartbreaking to see your child go through that and wonder if he was going to survive. He had been off treatment for about 18 months, when I was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer at age 39. So pre-diagnosis I had two small children while dealing with childhood cancer. I felt like I was just getting my life back together after a stressful 3.5 years of being a cancer mama to my son.

Stephanie O’Rourke

My name is Stephanie, I am 35 and I work as a bookstore manager at a local college. Before I was diagnosed, I was just your typical adult who had no idea what they wanted to be when they grew up. Pre-cancer and pre-pandemic (COVID-19) I would often just spend my days working and chilling at home. Seeing friends and family when I could, nothing too awfully exciting.

Diego Olegário

I have always been a healthy person, nothing too crazy but tried to stay active and eat well (although I could’ve done better haha). I don’t have family history of colorectal cancer, so I honestly had never heard of it. I was diagnosed with stage 3b rectal cancer in April of 2018. I was 33 years old.

Cassandra Milone

My name is Cassandra Milone. I had been practicing Massage therapy for 13 years at the time of my diagnosis. I had just relocated and expanded my practice in Quincy, MA. I was vocalist in a cover band called “Up All Night” in the Boston area. I absolutely LOVE performing! I was only 14 months into a new relationship with a strong, lovely young lady, Lydia. I truly value family and quality relationships. I am loving and outspoken, and I wear my heart on my sleeve.

Jonny Puglia

Before being diagnosed with Stage IV Colon Cancer, my life was overall great. I was working for an amazing company where I developed and found my “big why” in life – teaching. Besides working, I volunteered and chaired for a few non-profits focusing on LGBTQ advocacy; all while playing soccer on a local club team…


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