What kept a young breast cancer survivor’s fight strong

Michigan

PINCKNEY, Mich. (WOOD) — October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Therefore, News 8 sought out a breast cancer survivor who wants to share her story in hopes to help others diagnosed. 

Emmy Rickert was 24 years old when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. 

“It was very much like the movies, you hear the ring — nothing else is existing around you,” said Rickert. 

It was another moment of chaos given to her at such an early stage in life. In 2010, Rickert’s father underwent a heart transplant. Eight months later, Rickert’s mother died of a sudden brain aneurysm. A couple years later, Rickert lost her aunt Jodi to breast cancer.

Two weeks after losing her aunt, Rickert was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer, the most aggressive form. 

“I was sitting at my desk, playing with my necklace and I noticed the top of my chest felt really bruised and so I felt a little deeper and noticed a definite lump,” said Rickert. “Normally, I would’ve just waited or thought you know maybe I bumped something on it.”

The recent loss of her aunt pushed her to make an immediate visit to her OB-GYN. Rickert talked her doctor into ordering an ultrasound. Shortly after the ultrasound began, the radiologist came in and ordered a core biopsy. A few days later, came the results. 

“On a Monday morning, March 18, the radiologist called me, and he said, ‘I cannot believe that I’m calling a 24 year old today to tell you this but you have breast cancer,'” said Rickert.

At that moment, Rickert promised to keep a positive attitude through fighting her battle. Especially, after all she and her family had gone through.

Rickert underwent a mastectomy on her left breast. Further test results also revealed Rickert carried the BRCA2 gene mutation. She teamed up with a Spectrum Health oncologist at the Susan P. Wheatlake Regional Cancer Center in Reed City to continue the fight. Although, the recommended chemotherapy treatments to fight the type of breast cancer she was diagnosed with brought a risk she wasn’t willing to take, infertility. 

“I decided I’m not letting this take being a mother from me, whether it’s through eventually fertility procedures or adoption, or if God gives me my own babies,” said Rickert. 

Before starting chemotherapy, Rickert went to a fertility specialist in Grand Rapids and froze her eggs. 

About a year after chemotherapy, Rickert reunited with and married her college sweetheart. 

“She had gone through some dark times for a while. So, I kind of wanted to try to be the night and shining armor I guess and ride in on the white horse,” her husband Kelly Rickert said. 

Soon after, Rickert’s fairytale began. Rickert ended up conceiving naturally. 

“We found out we were having Grace, which oh my goodness we were so prepared that it was going to take us years and years to start a family,” said Rickert. “Eighteen months later, we had Huck and 20 months after that we had little Boone.” 

Rickert wants to share her story, in hopes to inspire others who’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer to keep fighting. In the future, she hopes to speak at more Spectrum Health events and Susan G. Komen events to help others going through the battle. 

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