WATCH DAWN'S STORY

My breast cancer journey started in August of 2014. I was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer, estrogen positive, progesterone positive, HER-2 positive and BRAC-2 positive. I had to undergo chemotherapy treatments as well as hercepton treatments. This was followed with a double radical mastectomy and a full hysterectomy. Since my diagnosis I have had 12 surgeries.

July 2014 a month before my diagnosis I was blessed with the birth of my first grandchild. She was my gift to get through the storm I was about to endure. I believe this baby girl was my inspiration to never give up hope. She allowed me to see my strength, to help me believe, to stay positive. Without even realizing it I was helping so many women and their families get through their breast cancer diagnosis while just starting my own.

I remember meeting a young woman who was only 28 years old and was in the waiting room with me as we were both waiting to do our pre-op for our upcoming surgery. It was time for her to go to the back with the nurse. I saw the heartbreak in her eyes as they wouldn't allow her mom to go with her. It was now my turn to be called back. As I entered there she was with tears streaming down her face. She was frightened and feeling alone. I wrapped my arms around her and told her she was not alone. Together we can do this. I made a little joke and I could feel her take a breath. Together we both took a deep breath.

This journey has not been easy to say the least. After every treatment all I wanted to do was get home to my granddaughter. No matter how bad a day I was having this little Angel helped me forget about the bad and remember how much good there still was in the world. So this is the reason I have named my foundation after my granddaughter, "Brielle Grace Breast Cancer Foundation". She gave me light and HOPE. Inspired me to believe in faith, and know I was given a blessing so I can continue to help others feel the power of love and hope.