Share Your Life: The Young Survivor Sisters


They call themselves sisters. They’re not family, but they are friends who share a lot in common. Each member of the group has a husband, children – a young family. And each member of the group has breast cancer

“I felt really glad that I was able to find a friend that was young,” said Erin Gadd, co-founder of Young Survivor Sisters.

“Finding someone else with breast cancer who was in their twenties, not in their fifties or sixties and that was really comforting.”

The group started five years ago, when a cancer coordinator introduced Ginny Nelson and Erin Gadd. The two women started meeting for lunch, at McDonalds. Over French fries, they would talk about shared fears.

“How do you juggle cancer with kids and what do you do now when you are done with treatment and what happens next,” Gadd explains.

Over the years, their small group started to grow – and now the Young Survivor Sisters are 40+ members strong. They meet monthly, to offer support, to share stories and to gain strength.

At their lunches, hope is the main course of conversation; the women talk about everything from worries to wigs.

“When you are at that level — when you have been told you are terminal, that this is what is going to take your life – the only way to go is up,” member Shauna Ross shares. “You don’t have anywhere else to go.”

“You put a group of women who have been thrown this type of disease and all you have is a massive amount of strength.”


The goal of this group is to provide younger women who have breast cancer with a network of other women facing the same challenges. Having cancer at any age is difficult, but when diagnosed in your 20s or 30s, a new set of trials arise. Each month a lunch or dinner is scheduled where the women get together and discuss one another’s needs.

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