Come Walk With Britney

Britney Stoumbaugh with her family just before her breast cancer diagnosis.

Britney Stoumbaugh, a (then) 28-year-old mother of four, sought out her MultiCare primary care physician after discovering a painful lump in her left breast. This same breast had also stopped producing milk months earlier (at the time, she’d been assured this was fine). Upon seeing the lump, Britney’s doctor recommended she get additional ultrasound and mammogram screenings.

“I went in, and they did lots of imaging,” Britney recalls. “The technician came in and told me, ‘I’m almost certain you have cancer, but we need to do a biopsy to confirm.’ I just remember thinking, how am I supposed to tell my husband this?”

Days before these mammogram and ultrasound biopsies, Britney’s husband was laid off from work. While facing this financial challenge, Britney learned she did indeed have breast cancer and that a mastectomy was the best course of action. Fortunately, the Stoumbaugh family was approved for financial aid through MultiCare, lessening some of the burden. Community generosity also afforded some relief down the road.

Fast-forward to Britney’s single mastectomy, and malignant cells were found all over her milk ducts. With this development, Britney’s care team decided to remove nearby lymph nodes, which tested positive.

“I went from being told you have stage 0 to, all of a sudden, you’re stage 3, have lymph node involvement and now you have to do chemo, radiation and all these doctor’s appointments,” Britney says. “It’s very overwhelming.”

Good Samaritan Cancer Resource Center’s helping hand

Britney underwent chemotherapy for a year and has since wrapped up radiation therapy at MultiCare Regional Cancer Center – Tacoma. Her final surgery is scheduled for February 2024.

Throughout it all, Britney strives to remain positive. Good Samaritan Cancer Resource Center’s community cancer consultant Tamara Miller, MSHS, BCPA, LE — along with MultiCare Good Samaritan Foundation donors — have helped her keep her smile.

“They were like, ‘If you want to keep your hair, then we should have you meet Tamara,’” Britney says. “She was really great. With the [Paxman scalp cooling] (which mitigates the risk of chemo-induced hair loss), she would check in and ask how I was doing. When I started losing hair, she actually reached out to the company, [who] called and gave me advice [to] make sure I’m doing it right.”

These cooling caps are one of the many services supported by Good Samaritan Foundation’s Come Walk With Me (CWWM) 5K walk and fundraising campaign. CWWM funds also provided Britney with a complimentary wig and bag of makeup and essentials, coordinated through Tamara.

In 2022 alone, 364 patients like Britney received a wig thanks to CWWM participants and fundraisers.

“When you have the diagnosis, everything kind of hits you all at once, so with the donors coming in and Tamara, [I’m] extremely grateful to have these extra things to take the load off,” she shares. “I still have some of my hair, so thank you for helping me feel somewhat normal and giving women going through breast cancer confidence.”

Britney is also thankful for CWWM’s Pink Fund, which offers gas or grocery gift cards to breast cancer patients in need.

“When Tamara [learned about my family’s situation], she was like, we have this program that’ll give groceries,” Britney explains. “Being able to have that, I could take that money and put it towards my bills that are coming in because of the cancer. Hopefully when we’re all past this, I’ll be able to help contribute [myself].”

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