Untold Santa Cruz

6. April Stearns: When You Are “Too Young” For Breast Cancer.

July 2, 2020

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In this episode of Untold Santa Cruz: Shelter In Peace April Stearns, creator of Wildfire magazine for young women with breast cancer (Free Issue!) and I talk about:

The music for the podcast is generously provided by Ketsa the track is Multiverse Check It Out!


  •  2:55 The birth of the name Wildfire
  •  4:10 A family of firefighters and April's dad
  •  4:30 The possibility of new growth
  •  5:35 The road has ups and downs
  •  6:45 The story of positivity in the breast cancer community
  •  8:05 Where is my normal? The magazine came from a need
  •  9:15 “Too young for breast cancer”
  •  9:45 It was hard to find young breast cancer patients to talk to
  •  11:55 First came blogging, the opportunity to tell her story and stay connected
  •  13:15 There are many different expressions of breast cancer 
  •  13:45 She wasn't trying to be “the voice of breast cancer”
  •  14:30 She wanted to create a space where it was possible to find the others
  •  15:40 Start now, start again look for the other guides on the path
  •  17:25 The classic breast cancer trope can feel hard sometimes
  •  18:45 If you're feeling sad, there's someone else out there feeling the same way, guaranteed
  • 19:40 We like stories of triumph
  • 20:25 The importance of providing a space between “you got this” and “today is hard”
  • 22:15 Are you sure you want to stay in cancer?
  •  24:45 How family and caregivers can stay supportive
  • 25:05 Making isolation more sparkling, a huge response!


  •  25:55 Wildfire magazine is for everyone who is surrounding and supporting that young woman in her life
  • 28:45 The Pen Pal club and the Mister Rogers connection, “ who do I want to be in this crisis?”


  •  31:25 A foundation for new friendships
  • 32:45 “ Start before you are ready”
  •  33:55 I don't know what  I am doing but let's see what happens
  • 35:00 Writing Workshops!
  • 37:10 The human superpower is adaptability, pain is a great guide
  •  38:30 Trying to bargain our way back to normal doesn't work.
  •  40:23 Paying respect to the struggle
  •  41:13 There is a richness to life in the struggle and finding the others
  •  43:10 How to help? Please just be normal oh, it's a great way to serve.
  • 43:65 Telling your story makes the world safer for everyone.

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April Steans created WILDFIRE Magazine in 2015 the first magazine of its kind for young women facing life after a breast cancer diagnosis. The magazine was created by April Stearns following her own diagnosis at 35 years old.

Published every other month, featuring stories from all stages of breast cancer, from women living all over the world. Themes range from love and intimacy to parenting with cancer to body image issues after breast surgery. Available in digital and print formats. wildfirecommunity.org. "I believe that telling your story (and reading the stories of others) can be the difference between a difficult cancer experience being traumatic, and a difficult cancer experience being empowering."

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