As nurses, we see the damage caused by cancer every day. Whether you’ve taken care of a cancer patient, or have had one of your friends or loved ones diagnosed with cancer, you understand the terrible toll that cancer can take on human life.
People with cancer have to fight every day just to survive, and often, their fight doesn’t have a happy ending. Because of this, it can be easy to give up in the face of cancer – to throw in the towel, and lose hope.
But this June 4, on National Cancer Survivor’s Day, we don’t have to lose hope. We can celebrate those among us who have beaten cancer – and those among us who are still fighting for their lives.
So if you know someone who has fought cancer and triumphed, celebrate with them – and celebrate with these 3 stories of remarkable cancer survivors!
Kris Carr – Epithelioid Hemangioendothelioma (EHE)
In January 2003, Kris Carr was at the top of the world. She had just starred in two successful Super Bowl commercials for Bud Light, and her acting career was taking off. But within just a month of newfound success, her world came crashing down.
She was diagnosed with Stage VI Epithelioid Hemangioendothelioma (EHE) – an extremely rare cancer that affects the blood vessels lining the liver and lungs. The doctors had found 24 tumors in her body, and they told her that her disease was incurable – and inoperable.
But though Kris was facing the most difficult challenge of her life, she didn’t back down. She decided that she would use her cancer as an opportunity, and would create a documentary following her struggles, and her fight against her disease – Crazy, Sexy Cancer.
The documentary followed Kris as she was diagnosed with cancer, and followed her journey towards a healthier lifestyle, which she credits for her continued victory in her battle against cancer, and the SXSW premiere of the documentary received rave reviews.
Today, Kris has authored 4 books aimed at those struggling with cancer and continues to be an inspirational figure both among those who have conquered cancer, and those who are still battling their diagnosis.
Michael Singer – Breast Cancer
Michael Singer is unique among breast cancer survivors – mostly because of his gender. This Bronx-born retiree was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010 as part of a routine physical. The doctor found a lump under his left nipple – about the size of a pencil eraser.
The diagnosis came as a shock to Mr. Singer – especially as his sister, Jo-Ann, had died from breast cancer only two years earlier.
And at first, he was embarrassed. He referred to his diagnosis as “chest cancer”, afraid of the stigma that is sometimes associated with male breast cancer. He underwent a full mastectomy of his left breast, removing the tumor entirely – and allowing him to make a full recovery.
However, the embarrassment about his condition persisted – until, one day, Mr. Singer’s friends convinced him to speak out about his breast cancer, in order to inspire both men and women who have to battle this terrible disease.
Today, Mr. Singer works closely with the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, promoting advocacy for men with breast cancer, and raising awareness about the importance of breast cancer research.
Sean Dever – Osteosarcoma
Sean Dever is proof that no cancer can prevent you from achieving your goals. Sean was diagnosed with cancer when he was only 11 years old. He tripped and fell, injuring his leg – an injury that would change his life.
The MRIs of his leg revealed that he had a rare form of bone cancer – Osteosarcoma. Within a month of being diagnosed with the disease in mid-July, he was undergoing chemotherapy to treat his cancer.
But after three months of chemo, it was time to address the primary problem – the tumor growing in Sean’s left leg. It had to be removed, and Sean chose rotationplasty. This relatively rare procedure allowed him to maintain flexibility and mobility – which was a top priority for this young athlete.
The procedure was performed in October 2007. By March of 2008, Sean was finished with chemotherapy, and he was learning how to walk again. And before long, he was back to playing his favorite sport – lacrosse. By his senior year, Sean Dever was the best goalie on his varsity lacrosse team, and he earned a scholarship to Young Harris College in Georgia.
Today, Sean is still playing lacrosse – and he’s been 100% cancer free for 8 years. He’s used his story to inspire others, and he still works closely with the non-profit organization CURE Childhood Cancer. He’s an inspiration not just to children – but anyone who faces the challenge of cancer, and is worried about losing the ability to do the things that they love.
Share These Stories – And Help Inspire Others
Every cancer survivor has a story to tell – these are just 3 of our favorites. So share these stories and inspire others. And if you have a friend or a family member who is fighting cancer, let them know that you’re on their side – and that you know they can beat their disease.
It won’t be easy, but with your support, love, and inspiration, they’re sure to find the strength they need during their battle with cancer.