I want to be a pillar of what a strong woman looks like. Not only my children, but to everyone.

In August of 2019, at age 40, Amy Margolies was playing a board game with her family when she bent over and felt a lump on the top of her chest above the area imaged during her mammogram. After having a clear baseline screening mammogram earlier that year, Amy went for a biopsy thinking it was nothing more than a benign cyst. While playing shuffleboard with her son during the family’s annual trip to the Jersey Shore, Amy received a phone call that would change everything from that moment forward. “You are positive for breast cancer,” Amy recalls the voice saying on the other end.

As if finding out she had breast cancer wasn’t stressful enough, Amy was also newly pregnant. Weighing all of her risks for both her and her unborn child, Amy worked with Jennifer Wagmiller, MD, medical oncologist at The Cancer Center at Saint Barnabas Medical Center, to move forward with a treatment protocol that was safe for both Amy and her baby. First surgery, followed by chemotherapy, targeted hormone therapy and radiation. She had the first three rounds of chemotherapy before pausing for two weeks to deliver her daughter. In April 2020 in the midst of the Pandemic and while being positive for COVID-19, Amy delivered a healthy baby girl at Saint Barnabas Medical Center Right after the delivery, Amy continued her treatment.

Having breast cancer, while pregnant, in the midst of a Pandemic, forced Amy to slow down from her normal pace of working and caring for her family, and redirect her focus to her own health and wellbeing. “I want to be a pillar of what a strong woman looks like. Not only my children, but to everyone,” Amy says. “Cancer has also taught me to appreciate every day, because there might not be a next.”