ADIBA BARNEY: Living with Metastatic Breast Cancer



Living with Metastatic Breast Cancer

My name is Adiba Barney. I’m 40 years old, married to the most wonderful man in this universe, Kris, and we live with our 2 precious dogs in beautiful San Francisco. I was born as a child of war in Lebanon. At the age of seven, my family and I fled to Sweden to survive, and start over. I’ve had a life filled with both tough challenges and great achievements, including starting my own company, with the goal of moving to the U.S. But that plan was put on hold when I got my first breast cancer diagnosis in 2005. Then in 2008, when I was only 30, I received my second diagnosis – the same breast cancer was back, and in the same breast. This time, I knew what to do – follow the treatment plan, get surgery and chemotherapy, stay on track. I had things under control. I felt like I was the one telling my friends and family that it was going to be OK. And once I was told that I was “cancer-free,” I was ready – it was time to take my company and move to San Francisco.

Things were going well! Then, in January of 2015, breast cancer changed my life again. After trying to have a baby for a couple of years, Kris and I were so excited to start IVF in the hopes of finally starting our family. Unfortunately, that was not in the cards. My routine mammogram showed that a new breast cancer was developing in my previously healthy breast. After doing a mastectomy of that breast, I was taken to the ER due to shortness of breath, where a CT scan showed that my previous breast cancer had spread to my bones. Instead of having a baby and fulfilling our dream of having a family, I was now facing a new reality: living with metastatic breast cancer.

After almost a year of treatments, good news, bad news, fear and hope, and a year where I realized I can push my inner strength to whole new levels, more tough challenges were waiting for us. Just before Christmas in 2015, scans showed that the treatment I started in April was no longer working. The evil cancer cells had become resistant to a treatment that we had hoped would work for at least 5 years. And, as a result, my breast cancer was now also in my lungs.

Luckily, I qualified for a clinical trial that involved aggressive, experimental radiation therapy and a new drug was effective. Today I have no evidence of tumors in my body, and I’m so, so happy. But, the side effects of the treatment will be with me forever. The radiation to my spine left me in a wheelchair, and I had to go to physical therapy to learn to walk again. And I take 10 pills every day to manage a variety of other side effects.

My fight continues – just as it does for every person living with metastatic breast cancer. I had to leave my job in February of 2016, and go on full-time medical leave. I loved being the CEO of the non-profit organization Silicon Valley Forum, and it was very hard for me. But today, I consider my work advocating for more education, research funding, and public policies that support metastatic breast cancer to be my “job.” We need more research, better treatments, and we need the cures.

I want this for everyone facing stage IV breast cancer, but I especially want it for my family. You see, after learning that I had no evidence of tumors in my body, Kris and I decided to pick up where we left off trying to start our family. We love our surrogate and are SO excited to welcome our baby boy this October.

Throughout the years I’ve learned how to handle challenges, survive and thrive from them instead of laying down and giving up. I’ll never give up on our fight to end breast cancer, and especially metastatic disease. I hope you won’t either.

Komen announces $26 Million in Grants including $650,000 awarded to Kansas Researchers


Kansas Researchers Receive $650,000 in Research Funding

DALLAS – Sept. 25, 2018 – Susan G. Komen®, the world’s leading breast cancer organization, today announced an additional investment of nearly $26 million to fund 62 new research projects that seek to answer some of the toughest questions facing breast cancer. This new funding is part of the organization’s efforts to reduce the number of breast cancer deaths in the U.S. by 50 percent by 2026 and brings its total research investment to $988 million to date – the largest nonprofit investment outside the U.S. government.

The grants include $650,000 in new funding for research at two institutions in Kansas, bringing Komen’s total research investment in Kansas to $10,942,251 since 1982.

“This year, Komen is investing in a number of areas that will help us achieve our bold goal and save lives. We are seeking answers to why our current drugs work for some patients, but not all, or why they work at first, but later become ineffective,” said Komen Chief Scientific Advisor, George Sledge, M.D., Chief of Oncology at Stanford University Department of Medicine. “We are also looking into aggressive forms of the disease like triple negative and inflammatory breast cancer, which tend to have poorer outcomes. By investigating novel techniques and therapies, we hope to bring new treatment options to patients.”

The newly announced grants will investigate critical areas in breast cancer research, including (but not limited to) projects focused on one or more of the following:

  • Drug Resistance and Metastasis (40 grants, representing 70 percent of the grants awarded)
  • Triple Negative Breast Cancer (23 grants)
  • New Treatments (38 grants) such as Immunotherapies (9 grants)
  • Health Disparities (8 grants)

This year, Komen’s competitive grant program for young investigators was entirely focused on drug resistance and metastatic disease. “Komen continues its long-standing investment in the next generation of scientists, to ensure that brilliant researchers whose careers are just beginning have funding to pursue their novel ideas,” said Komen Chief Scientific Advisor, Jennifer Pietenpol, Ph.D., Executive Vice President for Research and Director of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. “We are proud that this investment includes opportunities for 23 innovative and inspired researchers to lead the way in making breast cancer discoveries that will improve care for all and help save lives.”

“More than 41,000 women and men will lose their lives to breast cancer this year alone. I lost my mother to the disease a few years back, and I myself have been treated for aggressive triple negative breast cancer. The idea that it could impact my daughters is unacceptable,” said Komen President and CEO Paula Schneider. “We all have a personal reason or passion that we support the fight against breast cancer, and we’re proud to invite people to support the work that means the most to them. It will take all of us working together to save lives and ultimately end this disease.”

Komen’s Investments in Kansas

Komen’s research program is funded in part by contributions from Komen’s nationwide Network of Affiliates, which directs a portion of funds raised locally to Komen’s national research program, while also investing in vital community programs that serve local women and men facing breast cancer.

Since 1994, Komen Kansas City has funded $11,518,395 to community programs serving local women and men, while contributing $4,155,625 to Komen research (This is in addition to another nearly $5 million in programmatic support provided by the affiliate directly).

“We are extremely thankful for the friends, family, and communities that fight alongside us, helping to reduce the number of breast cancer deaths in Kansas and Missouri, both on the ground and through research, and especially research into the most lethal breast cancers,” said Michael A. Levine, Interim Executive Director. “As we gather thousands next week for our 25th Annual Race for the Cure we know that funds raised that day will be working to save the lives of the most vulnerable in our communities.”

In Kansas, Komen is granting to the following researchers:

Komen Scholar Danny Welch, Ph.D., from the University of Kansas Medical Center, will receive $200,000 to continue to study the role of genes that suppress the ability of breast cancer cells to spread to other parts of the body (metastasis). By understanding why and how metastasis happens, new targets can be identified for therapy and guide treatment decisions.

Xiaoqing Wu, Ph.D., from The University of Kansas Center for Research, will receive $450,000 to study a protein, HuR, which may contribute to chemotherapy resistance in triple negative breast cancer (TNBC). HuR is found at high levels in TNBC and is believed to help it grow and spread. Dr. Wu will determine if targeting HuR could overcome TNBC resistance to chemotherapy, and thus become a new treatment target for this aggressive cancer type.

Research has been a cornerstone of Komen’s work since opening its doors in 1982. Komen also works to inspire action through advocacy and public policy, to mobilize communities through support services and opportunities to make a local impact, and provide the care that patients need (including screening, diagnostics, treatment, and navigation).

About Susan G. Komen®

Susan G. Komen is the world’s largest breast cancer organization, funding more breast cancer research than any other nonprofit outside of the federal government while providing real-time help to those facing the disease. Komen has set a Bold Goal to reduce the current number of breast cancer deaths by 50 percent in the U.S. by 2026. Since its founding in 1982, Komen has funded more than $988 million in research and provided more than $2.2 billion in funding to screening, education, treatment and psychosocial support programs serving millions of people in more than 60 countries worldwide. Komen was founded by Nancy G. Brinker, who promised her sister, Susan G. Komen, that she would end the disease that claimed Suzy’s life. That promise has become Komen’s promise to all people facing breast cancer. Visit or call 1-877 GO KOMEN. Connect with us on social at

Grants are contingent upon signed and executed contracts with Komen.

About Susan G. Komen® Greater Kansas City

Komen Kansas City is working to better the lives of those facing breast cancer in the local community. Through events like the Komen Kansas City Race for the Cure® and Rock the Ribbon, Komen Kansas City has invested more than $21 million in breast health programs in their 17-county Kansas and Missouri service area and has helped contribute to the more than $988 million invested globally in researchFor more information, call 816.842.0410, visit or Connect with them on social media: Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

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