Gina’s Story Overcoming Cancer

Gina at 19 September 1994
Gina at 19 years old

When Gina was diagnosed with cancer at 19, her life was turned upside down.  In the span of one week, her life went from college classes, papers, and midterms, to a world of oncologists, diagnostic tests, and an impending surgery. Her prognosis was grim. She was told she would be fighting for her life, and IF she survived it was unlikely she would be able to have children.

While this may have stopped many people, it actually fueled her. Gina beat the odds. Her surgery was a success. The cancer had not spread, and she required no additional treatment beyond quarterly scans and blood tests.

Gina and Pete in 2002

She went on to graduate from college on time, earn an International MBA, and live in Munich, Germany working for BMW. Upon returning to the States, she moved to San Francisco (where she met and married Pete) to join a start-up internet company.  After she and the founders sold the company to Warburg Pincus in 2006, she launched her consulting career where she developed successful growth strategies for multinational corporations and executive teams. One of which, re-positioned a multi-national company from number six into the world to number two.

Gina and Samantha June 2010

While her career took off, Gina faced two more cancer scares and surgeries. Prior to a 2006 surgery, her oncologist recommended she take measures to preserve her fertility. With her life on seemingly the line, it was difficult to think about having a child.  It was a gut-wrenching decision. Yet, the choice enabled her to have an amazing daughter, Samantha Grace, several years later.

In late 2016, Gina learned that she had breast cancer through a routine screening. Thankfully, her cancer was caught very early.  After several months of treatment, she was once again cancer-free.

Samantha and a ‘friend’ Spring 2016

Through her brushes with cancer, Gina has met so many remarkable people facing similar plights. She is passionate about helping each one learn about options to preserve their fertility. “Every time I look at my daughter, I realize how blessed I am. I want every cancer patient to know they have choices about having a child and ensure they have the information to make the right choice for them.” She continues, “While my path has been challenging, I wouldn’t change a single thing. It revealed strength, drive, and courage that I didn’t know I had. Moreover, it’s given me incredible insights into people, life, and business – which I use every single day.”

Gina has spoken to various media outlets to build awareness around fertility preservation for cancer patients. For more on her story, please visit any of the sites below:

PBS Newshour:  “Cancer and Infertility Dodging the Double Blow”
Huffington Post:  “Young Cancer Patients Rarely Get Help, Information on Fertility Issues”
UCSF: “Cancer Doesn’t Mean Sacrificing Your Desire to Be a Mother”
Gina speaking at the UCSF Gala