The MBC Alliance celebrates the life and work of member Victoria Geib, who passed away on November 1, 2021 at age 35. Tori, who lived with metastatic breast cancer for just over five years, was a courageous lover of life who changed the landscape of MBC with her eloquent voice and deep commitment to moving the needle for progress.
Tori was diagnosed the week of her 30th birthday – less than two years out of college – with stage 4 de novo metastatic breast cancer. Considered too young for a mammogram, she learned the disease had already spread to her bones, lungs and liver. Along with a terminal diagnosis, she also faced financial and insurance challenges and side effects from treatment.
The granddaughter of a suffragette with a college background in public policy, Tori transformed her challenges into a mission. After training through Living Beyond Breast Cancer’s “Hear My Voice” program, Tori worked as a patient advocate for numerous organizations, from Susan G. Komen Columbus to the MBC Alliance, to advance treatment options for MBC and remove financial and other barriers to life-sustaining care.
As an Alliance member, Tori served as Co-Chair of our Patient/Advocate Advisory Group (PAAG), driving education and awareness through public speaking, writing and guest blogging. Her personal blog Metastatic Millennial was a clear and compelling voice for change in diagnosing and treating MBC, and her work was featured in many media outlets, from Time Magazine to Good Morning America.
Tori was also active in political outreach in her home state, presenting before the Ohio House and Senate Cancer Caucus in partnership with other advocates during Ohio MBC Action Day. She received proclamations from Ohio Governor John Kasich and Franklin County Commissioners for organizing the first ever Ohio Metastatic Breast Cancer Action Weeks in September of 2018.
As a public policy advocate, one of her greatest achievements was pushing for changes to a state law that forced some cancer patients, including Tori, to “fail first” on cheaper, less effective treatments – a requirement that had historically been pushed by insurance companies to save money. In December 2020, her efforts paid off when Ohio signed into law Senate Bill 252, prohibiting fail-first drug coverage policies for people living with stage 4 metastatic cancer.
A committed advocate for the Susan G. Komen® organization, Tori received the Tori Geib Courage in Action Award from Susan G. Komen Columbus in 2019, named in honor of her work. She was also awarded the Eliza Adams “Thriver of the Year Award” in 2020 by Komen Greater NYC for her advocacy on behalf of the breast cancer community.
It was a fitting recognition of Tori’s determination to live her life to the fullest. She was adamant that her experience with a terminal disease not be described using battle language. Tori did not see herself as losing a battle, but living life fully.
An ordained minister and generous giver of herself and her time to others living with MBC, Tori found deep pleasure in planning trips, singing and playing guitar at church, and volunteering whenever she could. A professional chef and food blogger, she had a passion for cooking and baking and was a prize-winning competitor at county and state fairs.
Tori’s kind yet commanding presence, true friendship, and keen vision will be deeply missed. As a community dedicated to improving lives and outcomes for people living with metastatic disease, we are grateful for her willingness to share her story to help others, and for her advocacy to change policy. Her mentorship and leadership continue to inspire us to carry on this work.