Rene Dixon has lost her battle with cancer.
Dixon was one of Cayman’s youngest breast cancer patients. She was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer at the age of 22 in 2011.
The aspiring fashionista passed away Friday. She was 31 years old.
Dixon, who was also a model and blogger, often used her personal experiences to raise awareness about breast cancer to inspire others facing the same trials.
She was known for her work with the Cayman Islands Breast Cancer Foundation and would often be seen delivering motivational talks.
Janette Fitzgerald, chief administrator at the foundation, said she was saddened by Dixon’s passing.
“I have worked closely alongside Rene for several years, she volunteered her precious time to us with the mission to get the message out there about breast cancer and how it was not just older persons who were affected but that it could affect young, old, and male or female,” she said.
Dixon was the special guest at the 2017 Breast Cancer Foundation gala where she met celebrities Bill and Giuliana Rancic at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, an evening she raved about.
Fitzgerald said Dixon, like those at the foundation, wanted to get that message out to as many people as possible.
“Whilst being in continual treatment for nine years, she never let that stop her or get in the way of her mission. I personally was always in awe of her strength and bravery. I will miss her very much, I know she will never be forgotten, and her message will continue to be heard for a long time to come,” she added.
At the age of 20, Dixon found a lump on her right breast, which was checked by three doctors – all of whom told her it was most likely a cyst and she was too young to have breast cancer. After several trials and further medical checks, Dixon was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer, roughly two years following her initial discovery of the lump.
By then, the cancer had already spread to her hip, back and ribs.
At 23, she was undergoing treatment which she wrote about on her blog, ‘With Love, Nae’.
In an interview with The Cayman Islands Journal in 2012, Dixon said, “I’ve always been a person to keep a journal. I said jokingly to my friend that maybe I should start a blog and she said I should. I found [blog website] Tumblr, so I started posting my updates on there… When people caught onto it, it turned into something way more than me just updating people. I’ve done general posts on breast cancer awareness and I share my story or someone else’s story or pictures.”
Her final entry in her blog was posted on Facebook on 23 Jan., where she wrote, “I’ve been
quiet and I’m trying to muster up the energy to type this out. But I was admitted to CTCA [Cancer Treatment Centers of America] last week for pneumonia but there are a lot of other complications happening.” Saying she felt exhausted and weak, she added, “Please send prayers. I need a miracle.”
Kim Lund, Breast Cancer Foundation director, said Dixon was loved by everyone and the team is devastated by her loss.
“Rene was a true champion for breast cancer awareness and was an unselfish and giving spokesperson who helped young adults understand how this disease affects all ages, even the very young like Rene. We are all heartbroken,” he said.
Numerous tributes were posted on social media, a testament to the impact that Dixon had on the community.