Four years ago, Ilene Osherow got the worst news she could have imagined: she had stage two triple negative breast cancer, which was aggressive and hard to treat.

“In three weeks, it went from two to four,” Osherow said. “I was patient one for immunotherapy there and I had weekly chemotherapy, and I had no life. And then, it moved to my lungs, which meant immunotherapy was not working.”

But, for the past two years, Osherow has found success keeping her cancer at bay in a clinical trial at the Dubin Breast Center of the Tisch Cancer Institute.

“I have drip chemotherapy every three weeks, and I take a chemo pill, so they’re two different kinds of chemotherapy,” Osherow said.

She also credits her decision to stay active with exercise.

“I do Pilates and I spin when I can,” Osherow said. “I do a lot of therapy and I do a lot of exercise, and I think those things really help me stay focused.”

Triple negative breast cancer does not have the receptors that doctors typically target to destroy cancer cells, but it is sensitive to chemotherapy, which in itself is grueling. But, Mount Sinai’s chief of breast surgery, Elisa Port, says exercise can go a long way in aiding treatment.

“It seems very unfair to tell someone who’s wiped out from chemotherapy [to] get up, move around, go out for a jog, go on a spin bike, but it really can improve quality of life and make you feel very alive,” Port said.

Osherow joined with Port to use their shared love of spinning for a fundraiser to increase awareness of this cancer, and raise money for research to develop targeted treatments.

“There are other targets that we’re trying to find — actionable targets — and that’s a huge area of research right now,” Port said.

Osherow’s spinning fundraiser collected over $160,000 for that research.

“Hopefully, I get to experience the cure, but if I don’t, I helped,” Osherow said.

Until then, Osherow is committed to staying active and she considers herself an example of optimism in the world of incurable stage four breast cancer.

“I want to live a long time. I’m 58. I never thought I would see 60,” Osherow said. “And now I have hope.”