Lifelong Friends

By Johanna D’Addario

What a beautiful benefit of having a rare genetic condition – making friends with others who have the same diagnosis.

I met Kirsty on a “blind date” for coffee a few years ago. She and her family had just moved from Australia to New Haven for her husband Glen’s research position at Yale University. When Kirsty met with a primary care doctor at Yale to establish her care, the astute doctor learned that Kirsty’s mom had been diagnosed with breast cancer at a young age. She offered to refer Kirsty for genetic counseling and testing.

Lo and behold, Kirsty’s test results returned positive for a mutation in the CDH1 gene, the same genetic mutation that I carry, and that caused my breast cancer. Through the wonderful world of the internet and Facebook, she connected with me and we met for our blind date. The rest is history!

We have become wonderful friends, and I absolutely adore Kirsty’s children, Georgia and Ruby.

Kirsty and I have seen each other through the ups and the downs of living with a genetic predisposition to cancer. We have both had bilateral mastectomy and total gastrectomy, and we often share our experiences when we get together. I made a lifelong friend and soul sister.

After the rain, look for the rainbow. Kirsty and her family are my rainbow, and I couldn’t be more grateful for our friendship and the fact that CDH1 brought us together!

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