The Inaugural Chicago Metsquerade 2018

Thanks to your generosity, the 2018 Chicago Metsquerade was an enormous success, raising over $143,000 for research for stage 4 Metastatic Breast Cancer. Our 2018 Gala was dedicated in memory of Beth Janiak-Geoghegan. As a result of the funds raised, METAvivor named the following grant after Beth:

Chicago Metsquerade in Memory of Beth Janiak-Geoghegan presents Axel Schönthal, PhD, Associate Professor of Molecular Microbiology & Immunology, University of Southern California “Controlled Opening of the Blood-Brain Barrier to Achieve Therapeutic Access of Trastuzumab in HER2-Positive Brain Metastases”

Last Years Grant Dedicated To: Beth Janiak-Geoghegan

The 2018 Inaugural Chicago Metsquerade is dedicated to the memory of Beth Janiak-Geoghegan. Beth was a daughter, sister, wife, friend, mother, talented occupational therapist and so much more. Beth effortlessly became the center of every room she entered and it was impossible not to be drawn to her smile and wit. She never let her diagnosis overshadow her goals and those she loved most. It feels most fitting to honor Beth by reading about Metastatic Breast Cancer from her personal account. Beth would pass away from this disease not quite 3 months after writing these words.

This post is like so many others on Facebook right now. An excited, bright-eyed five year old ready to walk into Kindergarten for the very first time, tentatively letting go of his mom’s hand. However, behind this photo is so much more. The photo begins when this little boy was two, almost ready to turn three. It begins in a doctor’s office, cold as usual, and a bad prognosis. A “terminal” prognosis. The very first thought in my head was seeing James walk into Kindergarten. It became a mission to achieve this goal, and I set my sites on it.

The trek started with med after med... Methotrexate, Xeloda, Eribulin, Palbocilib, Letrozole, Doxil, Carboplatin, Taxotere, Etoposide, Cytosine. Memorizing them to repeat to each doctor as I watch the list grow shorter. Scouring studies, trying to buy any time I can get. Through days hooked up to IVs in the hospital staring out onto Lake Michigan from the 14th floor, trapped like a prisoner of war. Through an 8 inch scar on the back of my head from brain surgery, not knowing what I was going to wake up like, but taking the chance for just a bit more time. Through more radiation. Fighting through the darkness of fatigue, pulling myself off the couch with every last bit of energy, to take the kids to the pool. Because I will not go down that easy. Not an option.

I have to say, that the walk up to bring James and Jack to school today was like standing at the top of Everest, even if for a brief moment. And it felt amazing.

Beth Janiak-Geoghegan | 6-8-77 ~ 11-30-16