When I was little I would save the day in my imaginary world with superhero strength, my mother’s curlers wrapped around my wrists as bulletproof armor, magic truth lasso around my waist and a bed sheet wrapped around my neck as my powerful cape. I knew that the hero saved everyone else from evil and destruction. The truth is the real hero has to find the strength to save herself.

I was a competitive junior Olympian swimmer, aged 11, when I was diagnosed with the first of 4 cancers that would span through 34 years. I knew how to fight to win. I knew how to train. I knew how to be brave. What I was to learn was the training, the fighting, the competition, the resolve, the saving….. all boiled down to rescuing myself. Hodgkin’s disease changed how I would look at life from that point on. Any cancer can either destroy you or give you a rebirth. You make that choice in your own mind with how you go to war. I chose to put on my cape and my mom’s hair rollers and fight back. I needed to save Jessica.

I would relapse after initial treatment and be treated again before I was considered cured. Twelve years later, the radiation used to arrest the Hodgkins lymphoma caused a tumor in my right breast. My breast was removed and I once again flew off in my superhero cape to raise my two boys. Six years later my left breast was removed with a second primary breast cancer diagnosis. That hero spun around and changed into her power gear again to rise and fight. And now I am 45. My strong faith in God and my love of life makes every day so special. And I’m thankful to that beautiful wonder woman who rescued me, who saved me so I could raise my two sons and see them grow. I’m thankful to that hero who allowed me to go on and help others every day to believe in who they are, to love who they are, to achieve what they want, with my water fitness. I am thankful for me.

GRYT is battling cancers through 34 years of my life
GRYT is being able to have two beautiful children after 3 cancer
GRYT is having the courage to leave a toxic marriage and raise my
children alone
GRYT is finding joy everyday in helping others to get well and believe
in who they are
GRYT is feeling that WIN and loving yourself every single moment.

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