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Donated Tissue Repairs the Wounds of a Cancer Survivor

After winning a two-year battle with breast cancer, the decision of a stranger would help Sterlynn as she started down the path of healing.

When Sterlynn Marx was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer in 2015, she was devastated, yet not completely shocked. Breast cancer runs in her family, with both her mother and grandmother having been diagnosed years earlier. Sterlynn always knew that she was at high risk of developing breast cancer herself, but it didn’t make hearing the news any easier.

Knowing the hereditary component of her diagnosis and everything that her mother and grandmother had been through, Sterlynn opted for immediate and aggressive treatment. She received six rounds of chemotherapy and then had a bilateral mastectomy, combined with donated tissue for the first part of her breast reconstruction. She then endured twelve more rounds of chemotherapy and had her second reconstruction surgery in 2016.

While Sterlynn’s surgeons had explained the benefits of donated tissue for her reconstruction and healing, she admits that the significance of the donation did not really hit her until she sat down to write a letter of gratitude to her tissue donor’s family. Sterlynn recalls, “Tears ran down my face as I wrote the letter and thanked my donor’s family. I thought of everything that had happened to me up to that point and what my future would be like.”

“After such a shocking, traumatic part of my life, the tissue donation allowed me to feel normal in my own body again and continue being active.” – Sterlynn Marx

Today, Sterlynn is an Event Program Coordinator in Hudson, WI, and has been cancer free for five years! She spends her free time exploring the outdoors with her husband, 3-year-old daughter and two dogs. She lives a full, wonderful life all thanks to her treatment, surgeries, and tissue donor. “I think that so often people think of impactful donations as only monetary or volunteering your time, but this (tissue donation and being a donor) is such an incredible part of people’s lives – for both the donor’s family and the recipient.”

Sterlynn and Daughter

Did You Know?
Tissue from just one donor can help more than five women undergoing reconstructive surgery from breast cancer!