Meet The Authors

We welcome your emails — simply click on our names to send any of us a personal message.
(David will be responding to emails for his sister, Patti, and Chris will respond to emails for his wife, Jana.)

Patti Balwanz

Patti Balwanz was working as an information technology (IT) consultant when she found her lump. With a family history of breast cancer, she knew the importance of performing monthly breast self-exams (BSE).

Diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 24, Patti subsequently had a mastectomy with immediate reconstruction and chemotherapy. Two years after her original diagnosis, Patti was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer to her bones, lungs and liver.

During her recurrence, Patti became an advocate for the breast cancer cause, serving as a board officer of the Ribbons of Pink Foundation. Patti openly shared her experience with others, even allowing camera crews to film her while receiving chemotherapy treatments. In August 2001, Patti was honored with the foundation’s first “You Are an Inspiration” recognition. Patti attended Southwest Missouri State University (SMSU), where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in social work and became active in the Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority.

On Saturday, March 29, 2003, Patti died at home among friends and family after a long fight against breast cancer and a courageous life lived with it.

Jana Peters

Jana Peters was a registered nurse who learned about the importance of performing monthly breast self-exams (BSE) during college, where she attended the University of Kansas and was active in the Delta Delta Delta sorority. She later transferred to Washburn University, from which she graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing. 

Jana’s breast cancer diagnosis came shortly after she became engaged to be married. At 27 years old, while in the midst of planning her wedding, she underwent a mastectomy and chemotherapy. Her cancer spread to her bones 18 months later, when she began continuous treatments for her cancer progression.

In October, 1999, Jana founded the Ribbons of Pink Foundation, a nonprofit organization with the mission of promoting breast health and supporting young breast cancer survivors. She also volunteered for a variety of other breast cancer organizations and was selected as one of twenty-five national Yoplait “Champions in the Fight Against Breast Cancer” honorees for 2006.

Jana enjoyed her professional career in the clinical research industry, where she worked at a large biopharmaceutical company in South San Francisco.

On Saturday, December 9, 2006, Jana died after an eight year fight against breast cancer and a courageous life lived with it.

Jennifer Johnson

Jennifer Johnson is a marketing professional who learned the importance of performing breast self-exams (BSE) while volunteering for the Susan G. Komen Foundation through her college sorority, Zeta Tau Alpha.

Jennifer was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 27 while five months pregnant with her first child. She subsequently underwent a mastectomy and chemotherapy during the pregnancy. The day following her last chemotherapy treatment in February 2000, she delivered a healthy baby boy, Parker Matthew. Proving that life does go on after a breast cancer diagnosis, she and her husband, Matt, welcomed a daughter, Emma Grace, in April 2003. Jennifer is currently cancer-free.

She is active in P.E.O. (a women’s philanthropic educational organization), the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection and also volunteers for several breast cancer organizations, including serving as a Reach to Recovery volunteer for the American Cancer Society, the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the Ribbons of Pink Foundation and the Pregnant with Cancer organization.

Jennifer graduated from Baker University with Bachelor of Science degrees in business marketing and fashion merchandising. Jennifer works for a large telecommunications company in Kansas City. She lives in Overland Park, Kansas, with her husband, Matt, and their two children, Parker and Emma.

Kim Carlos

Kim Carlos is a public affairs and strategic communications consultant who learned about the importance of breast self-exams (BSE) through her good friend and co-author, Patti.

She was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 30 while in the midst of planning her son’s second birthday party. Three years later, after undergoing eight rounds of chemotherapy, a mastectomy with breast reconstruction, several other surgeries, and treatment for lymphedema, Kim is currently cancer-free.

Kim is serving as president of the board for the Greater Kansas City Affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, was recently selected to serve on the Komen National Public Policy Council and helped bring a branch of the Young Survival Coalition to Kansas City. She also serves on the Missouri Cancer Consortium Committee, is a member of the American Cancer Society State Advocacy Committee and is Missouri co-chair for the National Patient Advocate Foundation. Kim has been honored nationally for her advocacy efforts by SELF magazine and Lifetime Television. Kim also continues to be very involved in other community organizations, including the University of Missouri-Kansas City Women’s Center and the Women’s Employment Network.

Recently, Kim decided to focus on her passion full-time and left the practice of law to start her own business, K.C. Consulting, where she focuses on grassroots advocacy, governmental relations and public relations, as well as motivational speaking. Kim graduated with honors from Southwest Missouri State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing and received her Juris Doctorate with honors from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law. She resides in Kansas City, Missouri, with her husband, Scott, and their five-year-old son, Brandon.