In July 2016, my life took a small detour when I went to the doctor for strep throat. I left with not only a prescription for antibiotics, but what would later turn into a thyroid cancer diagnosis. I was 25, active and seemingly healthy. How did this happen? As a woman, I knew about the importance of checking my breasts for lumps, but it never occurred to me to check my neck.
I took charge of my diagnosis and went to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center for treatment. In November 2016, surgeons were able to remove my thyroid and the surrounding cancer-infected lymph nodes. Today, I am cancer-free and feeling better than I have in years.
As part of my recovery, I designed my Annie James Collection to promote thyroid cancer awareness. A beautiful and meaningful piece of jewelry felt like the perfect way to start a conversation and spread awareness about the importance of getting a neck check.
I knew that I wanted to support patients who struggle financially with the cost of the lifelong treatment that thyroid cancer requires. This led to my partnership with CancerCare, an organization that provides financial assistance, counseling, support groups and education to cancer patients and their caregivers.
Even if you don’t have any noticeable symptoms, get into the habit of asking your doctor for a neck check at your annual check-up – it’s quick, painless and could save your life!