Nikki Alonso, of Manchester, learned yesterday she has breast cancer. Several months ago, she wanted to have a mammogram, but she was denied the chance.
"I did not fight hard enough for myself and realize begging and pleading is not the same as fighting," she said.
"I begged and pleaded to let me pay for a mammogram and genetics testing out of pocket even with health and cancer insurance. My mom had just had cancer two years prior and I wanted peace of mind. Then a lump appeared in December and I was fearful something just wasn't right."
She was told there was no reason to have a mammogram, said Alonso.
The doctors told Alonso, who was then 32, she would be eligible for a mammogram at 35.
"I felt (helpless) and defeated. I know God will fight for me but I feel He has called me to fight not just for my daughter but all women."
Alonso now wants to be an advocate for all women.
Her husband, Tobey, has created a petition to US Senators Marsha Blackburn and Lamar Alexander and Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee to make mammograms available to women of all ages.
"Our mission is to be proactive not reactive," she said. "My husband created a petition last night after I received news from Dr. Lindsay Keith that I have HER2 triple positive breast invasive carcinoma breast cancer. Due to the type and size of my tumor I will have to have chemo and it is better to do so first."
HER2 is a growth-promoting protein on the outside of all breast cells. Breast cancer cells with higher than normal levels of HER2 are called HER2-positive. This type of cancer tends to grow and spread faster than other breast cancers, according to the American Cancer Society.
See the petition here.