A 42-year-old woman who beat stage 4 breast cancer last year has died from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Snohomish County, Washington.1

Snohomish County has 348 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 14 probable cases as of March 19, of whom, 7 have died.2

Sundee Rutter was a single mother to her 6 children, who range in age from 13 to 24 years.3 Rutter went to the hospital 2 weeks ago with some symptoms, but was sent home according to WFSB News. A few days after that, Rutter had a fever and trouble breathing, so she was admitted to the hospital. Rutter died Monday, March 16.1

“Sundee was an absolutely amazing mom and instilled only the utmost of values in her children,” said Carrie Frederickson, a friend of the family, in the biography of a GoFundMe organized for Rutter’s children.3 The fundraiser has currently raised more than $157,500 since it was created 2 days ago.3

Although some preventive recommendations are the same for breast cancer survivors—including social distance, hand-washing, and cleaning surfaces—breast cancer treatments could be affected by the pandemic.4

Because some treatments weaken the immune system and can cause lung problems, patients with breast cancer may be at an increased risk of complications if they are infected with COVID-19. Patients whose breast cancer has metastasized to the lungs can also experience significant complications.4

Many hospitals are also delaying elective surgeries and other procedures, which can affect patients awaiting some surgical treatments. Although this can be distressing, these decisions can protect patients and ensure health care providers have the resources they need to treat those with COVID-19.4

“We’re pretty devastated,” said Jessica Harris, a friend of Rutter, in an interview with WFSB. “She beat cancer and lost the battle to coronavirus—it’s just crazy.”1

  1. Van de Riet, E. Single mom of 6 who beat stage 4 breast cancer dies from coronavirus. WFSB; March 19, 2020. https://www.wfsb.com/single-mom-of-who-beat-stage-breast-cancer-dies-from/article_48de9d99-6bf1-5506-98af-98f9b93758bb.html. Accessed March 20, 2020.
  2. COVID-19 Case Count Info. Snohomish County, WA. Updated March 19, 2020. https://www.snohd.org/499/COVID-19-Case-Count-Info. Accessed March 20, 2020.
  3. Please Help the Ross-Rutter Family. GoFundMe; started March 18, 2020. https://www.gofundme.com/f/please-help-the-rossrutter-family?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=p_cp+share-sheet&fbclid=IwAR38R0OtTHP38pTm4yvlwxmhiaW4Kcarnalak4hqykAmEcSVkigpvQNgLBg. Accessed March 20, 2020.
  4.  Leitenberger A. Coronavirus: What People With Breast Cancer Need to Know. BreastCancer.org; March 19, 2020. https://www.breastcancer.org/about_us/press_room/news/coronavirus. Accessed March 20, 2020.