PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A 20-year-old Philadelphia breast cancer patient has her future family protected thanks to the love and support of a best friend. Fertility preservation is the technical part of this story, along with life-saving cancer treatments, but the heart of this is about friendship and bravery when life gets scary.
"I think we have, like, a similar sense of humor," Natalie Peralta, a breast cancer patient, said.
Peralta and Haley Bauer became instant best friends in high school at St. Hubert in Philadelphia.
Now they're facing a crisis that rarely strikes so early in life.
"I felt like a lump on my breast," Peralta said.
After a series of tests, the unlikely diagnosis was breast cancer at age 20.
"It's a lot to take in," Peralta said. "I spent the first day crying. It was just tough news to hear and it was just unbelievable because it's not genetic. It's something that's just happened, like, randomly."
A young friendship was put to the test.
"It was really hard," Bauer said. "I was like, 'OK, well, this is way harder for her. I can't be upset, like, I need to be there for her.'"
Doctors told Peralta she would need a lumpectomy, chemotherapy and radiation.
"It was just very scary for me, like, I didn't know what to do," Peralta said.
But the treatment path was clear. High on the agenda, preserving Peralta's fertility before treatment.
"Chemotherapy drugs can injure the ovaries and cause premature menopause," Dr. Halle Moore, a breast cancer oncologist, said. "For our younger patients, we always want to determine whether future fertility is a potential consideration."
"One day, I would, like, I'd love to get married. I'd love to have kids. So, like, that's so important to me and that's why this process is so crucial," Peralta said.
But egg retrieval and storage are expensive and not covered by Peralta's insurance.
It didn't take long for Bauer to come up with a solution, a GoFundMe page that quickly raised $13,000.
With her eggs now in storage, Peralta shaved her head and got ready for chemotherapy feeling relieved that children can still be part of her life thanks to her best friend.
Peralta will have a series of chemotherapy treatments. She's expecting to have a difficult summer but hopes to eventually be back in school at Temple and will be forever grateful to Bauer.
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