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Breast cancer survivor diagnosed aged 35 starts local support group

A young local breast cancer survivor is sharing her story in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month. 

Samantha Marji was just 35 years old when doctors told her she had stage II breast cancer. 

“I had found a suspicious lump when I was in the shower,” said Marji. She was diagnosed back in 2018. 

“I immediately went into survival mode,” she said. “I went right into surgery.” 

Marji shared she had a double mastectomy. After a year of intensive treatment, today she’s cancer free. But she says as a young, working single mother her experience battling cancer was isolating. 

“I found it lonely. People in my family didn’t understand. My friends tried to understand. I had a young kid at home with type I diabetes so it was really hard to navigate life,” she said. 

Marji says after some research, she discovered a national nonprofit called the Young Survival Coalition, a support group specifically designed for those under 40 currently receiving treatment or living life after breast cancer. They didn’t have a chapter here in the valley. 

“I reached out and said hey I would love if someone could bring this out here...and they said why don’t you?” 

Marji decided to start the group locally which has slowly grown. She says pre-pandemic the group would have monthly meet ups. Now, they stay connected via Zoom, virtual meetups or phone calls, offering support and a unique understanding. 

“There are times when you’re tired and don’t want to cook for kid, times that you’re wondering if you can afford to miss work again, there’s the physical appearance...losing your hair or your breasts even,” explained Marji. 

She’s encouraging anyone going through something similar to reach out to their group on Facebook or by going to the Young Survival Coalition’s website and searching for the Coachella Valley group.  

“We would like to help you if you have young children, if you need food delivered, if you need medication delivered, or a ride to the doctor,” she said. “Our goal is to support each other. Know that you’re not alone.” 

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Madison Weil

Madison Weil joined the KESQ News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2 News Team in June 2018. Learn more about Madison here.


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