“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.” – Ambrose Redmoon

Review the US breast cancer statistics by Breastcancer.org, and we recognize the need to be weary and careful. For women in the U.S., breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer after skin cancer. About 12% of U.S. women will develop breast cancer during her lifetime.

However, research, support, growing awareness and foundations such as Breast Cancer Research Foundation have helped decrease the number of sufferers and deaths from breast cancer. The most significant risk factors are gender and age. Less than 15% is linked to having family members with this type of cancer.

Ask any cancer support group, and they will tell you that it takes a lot more than medical advancements to fight cancer. It takes support, will and sheer grit – qualities that these women have demonstrated as they battled the disease.

At the Global Connections for Women Foundation (GC4W), we are celebrating these women for displaying an incredible amount of strength during their fight for survival.

The following are inspirational breast cancer survival stories of life after cancer.

Hoda Kotb: Host of the annual Breast Cancer Research Foundations Symposium and Awards Luncheon, Hoda Kotb says – “Cancer shaped me, but it did not define me. It’s part of me, but not all of me.”.  From that intern in her office who hugged her when she found out, unwittingly providing support, to a stranger on a plane who encouraged her to share her story, her experiences epitomize the following thought – this journey is not one to be travelled alone, it is one to inspire.

 

Olivia Newton John: This Grease star and singer is a breast cancer survivor. During her hiatus, when she retreated to Australia to recuperate, she recorded an album. She speaks of her experiences with the cancer to promote early detection and provide hope. Survival is possible. She is fighting the battle again, after 25 years, and we are rooting for her.

 

Dame Maggie Smith: This article from The Telegraph showcases the power of dedication and strength. Downton Abbey and Harry Potter star, Dame Maggie Smith, not only shot Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince at 73 years while undergoing chemotherapy, but shot the Deathly Hallow movies after.

 

 

Dana Donofree: Dana Donofree is the founder of Anaono.com. Anaono is dedicated to creating bras for women undergoing various stages of breast cancer treatment. She was diagnosed at 27 years and realized after her treatment that she had nothing suitable to wear. Most women have to undergo some sort of reconstructive surgery during their treatments, and the lack of products for them drove this young woman to transform elements of her fight into something for after survival.

The Way Forward – Supporting and Proactive Treatment

Those like Lesley Murphy and Angelina Jolie are leading the way forward by encouraging young women to take preventive measures and get tested for the BRCA gene mutation. Others, even those who don’t get featured in newspapers, are providing hope and support by sharing their experiences. There is a way forward; there is a life after; it is about battling through.

GC4W salutes all breast cancer survivors and fighters for giving the world a lesson on strength and perseverance. Together, we can defeat breast cancer. 

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