For 28-year-old with breast cancer, Red Sox experiences allow a break away from treatment

As an active physical therapist, focused on hiking with her dogs, Murphy and Rex, and enjoying life with her friends, the last thing Meghan expected to face at 26 was stage IV breast cancer. But when a COVID-19 diagnosis led her to the hospital in June 2022, with severe shortness of breath and trouble exerting herself, a big concern for someone of her activity level, tests revealed two liters of fluid and her lungs and tumors in her breast. She had metastatic breast cancer.

“I have an oncologist in my family, my dad, and after some discussions with him and his colleagues, we decided the best place for me to get care was at Dana-Farber with Dr. Partridge,” Meghan recalls. And that’s where she ended up, under the care of Ann Partridge, MD, MPH, founder and director of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s Program for Young Adults with Breast Cancer; director of the Institute’s Adult Survivorship program; and the Eric P. Winer, MD, Chair in Breast Cancer Research.

Meghan with her oncologist, Ann Partridge, MD, MPH

“The very first thing Dr. Partridge said to me was, ‘you’re as cool as a cucumber,’” Meghan says, explaining that with her oncologist dad, nurse mom, and strong group of friends, she felt very supportive throughout her treatment. Partridge also took the time to get to know Meghan as a person, to understand her goals and lifestyle, which meant the world to someone going through cancer treatment at such a young age.

Meghan’s treatment started with mostly hormonal drugs, to which she initially responded well. She and Partridge joined the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon in August 2023, sharing her experience live from Fenway Park, where she had made so many fond memories with her family going to Red Sox games.

In October 2023, a scan showed tumor progression and Partridge made the decision to switch Meghan to a chemotherapy treatment. The new oral chemotherapy, which Partridge chose with Meghan’s active lifestyle in mind, caused some complications in December, including some rare chest pressure issues, which Meghan and Partridge knew wouldn’t work for her. She came off treatment for a few weeks—long enough to attend the Boston Red Sox Women’s Fantasy Camp in Fort Myers, Florida, without worrying about side effects—before starting a once-every-four-weeks chemo infusion regimen.

Meghan at Red Sox Fantasy Camp

Meghan’s trip to Florida came at just the right time in her treatment plan, allowing her to feel normal and take her mind off cancer. “As a Red Sox fan growing up, it was truly special,” she shares. Prior to the trip, she met up with a few of the other campers in Worcester, Mass., to take some swings in the batting cages, and at the camp, she excelled on the field, playing a variety of positions and earning the Golden Glove Award for her work at third base. Wearing number 11, she says she felt just like Rafael Devers, and for her parents, who brought her to so many Red Sox games as a kid, she really was the MVP on the diamond. Off the field, Meghan had a chance to bond with her team and her coaches, Doug Mirabelli and Manny Delcarmen, going to team dinners and even doing karaoke together.

While Meghan’s treatment will continue, with Dana-Farber and Partridge’s expertise, and her support system, she feels she’s in the best hands possible.

“Dr. Partridge is awesome. She knows who I am now, and she knows my top priorities,” Meghan says. “While the first trial I was on didn’t work for me, the idea that there are so many drugs in phase 1 and 2 trials is very exciting. Dr. Partridge is always in touch with the latest research. And who knows, one of these drugs might be the answer for me and other patients one day, giving us the longevity an quality of life we’re looking for.”

Donate to the 2024 WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon presented by Arbella Insurance to support patients like Meghan. Tune in on August 13-14 to WEEI 93.7 FM and New England Sports Network (NESN) to hear from more patients who are striking out cancer!

Your donations also support The Dana-Farber Campaign, our ambitious, multi-year fundraising effort to prevent, treat, and defy cancer. The Dana-Farber Campaign will accelerate the Institute’s strategic priorities by supporting revolutionary science, extraordinary care, and exceptional expertise. As a community, we have the power to create a more hopeful, cancer-free future—in Boston and around the world. Together, we can defy cancer at every turn. Learn more about The Dana-Farber Campaign and how you can get involved at DefyCancer.org.