Emily Rees Garnett died on March 29, 2020, 28 months after being diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. She was 35 years old. Emily was born in Phoenix on March 19, 1985, the first child of Brian and Barbara Rees. She graduated from Xavier College Preparatory in 2003 where she was a 4-year state finalist in the breaststroke and co-captain of the swim team. She continued swimming at Scripps College and was named the Scripps Alumnae Athlete of the year upon graduation. Always seeking adventure, Emily moved to Manhattan after college and began working as a case manager for Housing Works, an AIDS/HIV advocacy group. This work led her to law school and she graduated from CUNY School of Law in 2012.
Emily was admitted to the New York Bar after graduation and worked in NYC as an elder law attorney focusing on guardianships, capacity issues, special needs issues, and public and private benefits. Emily was known in the New York Surrogate Court as a detail-oriented, dedicated professional. In 2012, Emily married Christian Garnett and they welcomed their son, Felix, in November, 2015. In 2017, Emily, Christian, and Felix moved to suburban Mt. Kisco after a decade of living in the city. In November 2017, two days after her son's second birthday, Emily was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer and given a life expectancy of 2-3 years. After her diagnosis, Emily became a relentless advocate for breast cancer awareness. Emily began documenting her illness, treatments, and life in her blog, Beyond the Pink Ribbon, to foster dialogue surrounding metastatic breast cancer. In addition to her blog, her writing on health issues was published by Women's Media Center, Scary Mommy, Coffee+Crumbs, CURE Magazine and Healthline.
In February 2019, she walked the runway for AnaOno in New York Fashion Week to bring awareness to metastatic breast cancer raising $100,000 for research. Emily was a member of the Metastatic Breast Cancer Alliance's Patient Advisory Advocacy Group and served as an ambassador for the Breast Cancer Research Fund. In this capacity, she appeared in a New York Times ad campaign and was featured on a billboard in Times Square. This last year, she was named WEGO Health's Rookie of the Year for advocacy work across numerous social media channels. In addition to her blog and advocacy work, Emily hosted a podcast, The Intersection of Cancer and Life, which featured candid, honest and often funny accounts of the realities of life with cancer. She appeared on Entertainment Tonight with Giuliana Rancic to talk about cancer and was featured in a YouTube episode of Binging with Babish.
Last October, she traveled to Washington DC to lobby congress for increased funding for breast cancer. But Emily's real legacy lay with the countless individuals with whom she connected daily. Persons who read her blog or listened to her podcast sought her out and she always made time to speak to them, offering advice and counsel. Emily is survived by her husband, Christian, their son, Felix, parents, Brian and Barbara Rees, her brother, Patrick Rees, paternal grandparents, Paul Rees and Donna Rees Canfield, maternal grandmother, Beverly Morgan, numerous, aunts, uncles, cousins and their children. In her last effort to shed light on this devastating disease, Emily donated her tissue to Memorial Sloan Kettering for research. No funeral arrangements were possible due to the Covid 19 quarantine. A reception honoring Emily's life took place in NY once it was safe to gather.