Since October is breast cancer awareness month, we thought we’d spotlight four incredible breast cancer survivors. These women bravely fought for their lives, and now serve as symbols of hope and inspiration.
In 2007, Brown found a lump in her right breast. However, was not financially stable enough to visit a doctor and get a mammogram. After landing a job with insurance benefits, she went to get a mammogram and received the news that she had stage two breast cancer.
Over seven years, her cancer advanced to stage four. It had metastasized to her lungs, kidney, liver, back, chest wall, neck, and to her brain. She underwent multiple surgeries including a bi-lateral mastectomy, hysterectomy, 10-hour breast reconstruction, and a brain tumor removal. She also fought through three series of radiation therapy. While her cancer is not entirely gone, her incredible fight for life is inspirational.
Today, Brown and her son started a non-profit organization called All So Pink. The organization sells crafts made by cancer patients to raise money for breast cancer treatment.
In 2004, the two-time Grammy award winner, Melissa Etheridge found a lump in her left breast and doctors soon diagnosed her with cancer. She underwent a lumpectomy, which removed a 4-centimeter tumor, as well as the removal of all 15 lymph nodes to ensure the cancerous cells hadn’t metastasized. Additionally, she fought through five chemotherapy and radiation rounds.
While undergoing chemotherapy, Etheridge received a Grammy nomination for her song “Breath,” and the organizers asked her to perform at their Janis Joplin tribute. Although she was still receiving treatment, she gave a jaw-dropping performance of her song, “Piece of My Heart.” Her performance still is a symbol of strength, hope, and empowerment for the fight against breast cancer.
Furthermore, she used her experience to uplift others. She wrote and dedicated the song “I Run for Life” to breast cancer survivors. She donated all the money the song earned to breast cancer charities.
Christina Applegate starred on the hit television sitcom Married with Children since she was a teenager. She also starred as the main character in the comedy series Samantha Who?. Her performance earned her both Golden Globe and Emmy nominations. However, in 2008, she received a diagnosis of breast cancer. Luckily, doctors found her cancer early and prescribed her with six weeks of radiation treatment. Furthermore, she tested positive for the BRCA, or the “breast cancer gene.” She made the brave decision to have a bilateral mastectomy.
Applegate was very vigilant about self-breast checks and getting mammograms, which ultimately lead to an early diagnosis that could have saved her life. She now is a major advocate for providing women access to MRIs and genetic testing, which is not offered by most insurance companies.
At the age of 33, Shaw found multiple 1.2 cm tumors. After numerous visits to the oncologist, she received radiation treatment. After two years, her cancer returned as stage four breast cancer, and doctors estimated that she had six to nine months left to live. Rather than let cancer win, Shaw knew she could fight it. She worked tirelessly on bettering her physical, mental, and spiritual health, and, seven years later, she is now cancer-free.
Today, Shaw is a well-known author, motivational speaker, and life coach. She also started a social network support website called URAWarrior.com. Her website assists those struggling with life-altering changes by providing comfort and inspiration. She also authored the book URAWARRIOR 365 Ways to Challenge You to a Better Life.
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