My name is Reagan Barnett and I live in Mobile, Alabama with my husband David and our dog, Colonel Theodore Roosevelt (Teddy). I am a PhD student at the University of South Alabama studying Molecular and Cancer Biology and Genetics. My current research actually involves looking at molecular interactions between the DNA Mismatch Repair Pathway (a mutation in this causes Lynch Syndrome) and another repair pathway in which mutations can cause Fanconi Anemia. We focus mostly on colon and ovarian cancers. I was also diagnosed with colon cancer and Lynch Syndrome when I was 22 years old and am blessed to now be 5 years cancer free. I had a total colectomy and ultimately a total of 4 abdominal surgeries and 1 lung surgery, but I am grateful to have been able to avoid chemo and radiation. By far, the hardest part of cancer for me was the transition from cancer patient to cancer survivor. I knew no one my age who had been diagnosed and I really didn't know how to navigate the post-treatment phase. Two years later I got involved with great organizations like First Descents, Stupid Cancer, and Imerman Angels and it really changed my whole view on life after cancer. Meeting so many others my age really encouraged me to get involved in advocacy and even in research. I started a website called When My Genes Don't Fit that focuses on bringing awareness to hereditary cancer syndromes and young adult cancer. The purpose of my website is to bring awareness to any and all hereditary cancer syndromes by sharing both detailed information and personal stories as well as specifically foster support for young adults with cancer and those who are considered previvors (those with a hereditary cancer condition that have not yet been diagnosed with cancer).
I’m a Patient Leader