I’m Olivia Clarke and I’m a cancer survivor and cancer patient.
Cancer story in a nutshell: In 2015, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. After undergoing chemotherapy, a mastectomy, radiation and several reconstruction surgeries I was considered cancer-free. When going through treatment, I learned the importance of finding little ways to experience joy and laughter. I also realized that being a cancer patient under age 40 brought unique perspective and challenges, but there weren't a lot of avenues for this group to bond and share stories. That's why this online community was created. In November 2021, I learned that my cancer had returned and I was now considered stage 4 because the breast cancer had come back in various organs. I am currently undergoing treatment while also working full-time and running Humor Beats Cancer.
My back story: My day job is as a public relations director for a global law firm where I handle media relations and communications for the lawyers I work with and for.
I worked as a reporter and editor for 13 years and the best part of that profession was learning and sharing people's stories. I learned nothing is black and white. We really operate in the gray and the best thing we can do is empathize with our neighbors.
After dealing with cancer the first time I realized I had not left a positive enough impact on people's lives. I took my volunteering up to a new level and raised money and awareness through social media and communications for a school and food pantry on the South Side of Chicago. It fed my soul and I hopefully made a positive impact on this community. But I needed to create this nonprofit organization to give back and help bring all the different parts of me together -- the journalist, communicator, volunteer and cancer survivor.
I hope you enjoy Humor Beats Cancer.