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Hills councilwoman reaches out to others about breast cancer diagnosis

By: Sherri Kolade | Farmington Press | Published June 22, 2015

 Samantha Steckloff

Samantha Steckloff

FARMINGTON HILLS — City Councilwoman Samantha Steckloff will never forget the day she was door-to-door campaigning for a City Council seat when someone asked her, “What is the meaning of life?”

“I said, ‘To leave this world a better place than when you entered it,’” Steckloff said recently. “Many people believe in legacy, in family, their career — I’ve always thought of it as changing a life, and that is really what keeps me going and positive.”

Steckloff, 31, keeps that answer in her back pocket as motivation, now more than ever, after recently being diagnosed with breast cancer.

“I know there is going to be hard times, but if I can just help one other person go through this, then I have made a difference, and I have really stood by that,” she said.

Steckloff told fellow City Council members of her diagnosis during a June 15 study session.

“I found out last Tuesday (June 9),” she said during the meeting. “It’s been a tough week.”

Steckloff said she discovered a lump along the line of her bikini top when she was putting on aloe vera May 29.

“I didn’t really think too much of it because I work out a lot. I thought it was tissue or calcium buildup,” she said.

After the meeting, Steckloff said she had been experiencing health issues such as weight gain and hair loss.

“We didn’t know if they were correlated,” she said.

During a recent doctor’s visit, it was confirmed that she has the most common type of breast cancer, invasive ductal carcinoma. About 80 percent of all breast cancers are invasive ductal carcinomas.

She is unsure of how far the cancer has developed, but will find out when she undergoes surgery to remove lymph nodes. Steckloff is also waiting on genetic testing to come back to see if she has any genetic mutations relating to cancer.

She added that because she is young and healthy, cancer treatments can be aggressive.

She plans to take a step back from some of her City Council duties based on future treatments and appointments, but will try to remain as active as possible, she said.


Mayor Barry Brickner told her, “We got your back, kid,” while others hugged her and said she has their support.

“Anything we can do to help out, we’ll do it,” City Councilman Randy Bruce said.

In addition to that support, she said she is surrounded by family members who lift her up when she needs it.

She said recently that going public puts her in a vulnerable place, but she made the decision to do it because she wants to make sure that young women take more health precautions.

“We have a megaphone, and we need to use it to our fullest advantage. I did not do self breast exams. I thought this couldn’t happen to me,” she said. “I thought I was invincible. I want young women to understand this can happen at any age, and if you catch it early, the survival rate is so high. We can save our lives. Do a self breast exam every month so they know their bodies and know themselves.”

Steckloff added that while it is still important to leave the world a better place than you found it, she doesn’t plan to leave anytime soon.

“I am not ready to leave — I don’t want to leave, so I am not going to leave,” she said.