When You Have Cancer and You’re a Parent: "Your Stories" Podcast

Your Stories: Conquering Cancer
February 17, 2021
Jimmy O’Hara, Conquer Cancer staff

Conquer Cancer, the ASCO Foundation, developed the podcast series Your Stories: Conquering Cancer to showcase unscripted conversations between patients, doctors, and the family and friends who conquer cancer with them. 

Tough conversations are among the challenges Kimberly Irvine faced when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in her early 30s. In the Your Stories episode, “Being Your Own Advocate,” the 2-time survivor tells her friend, Riccardo Braglia, about how she managed cancer treatments while raising her children. It’s a story about parenthood and perseverance.

Kimberly received her first cancer diagnosis when her daughter and son were only 4 and 6 years old, and she worried about how they would make sense of her illness.

“I got questions like, ‘Did I do something wrong? Is that why mommy got cancer?’” said Kimberly. “Those were questions I just didn’t really know how to answer. I had to educate myself.”

As she cared for her children, Kimberly prioritized her own needs, too. Using online resources to research and choose her providers, she assembled her health care team. “I learned very quickly that I was the CEO of that team,” said Kimberly. “You really have to be your own best advocate.”

She also used her experiences as an opportunity to empower her children. “I tell my children every day, I didn’t want the adversity to break us,” said Kimberly. “I wanted to use it for purpose. That’s probably one of the biggest lessons that my kids had to learn at a young age, that they really need to take care of themselves and that there are things they can do to lower their risk.”

After surviving breast cancer with support from care partners and loved ones, Kimberly is sharing a message of hope and purpose with others affected by cancer.

“None of us know if it’s going to happen to us, but we can certainly take some of the control back from what cancer tends to take from us,” said Kimberly.


Hear more about Kimberly’s story. The Your Stories podcast, from Conquer Cancer, the ASCO Foundation, features candid conversations between family and friends who conquer cancer alongside their loved ones. Subscribe to Your Stories on Apple Podcasts and Google Play today. 

Read a transcript.

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