Denise Connolly doesn't exactly fit the perception of a breast cancer survivor. Doctors diagnosed the 36-year-old woman in 1992, a mere six months into her new marriage. Ever since, she has refused to surrender a dogged and determined spirit.
“If you're willing to do what you have to do, it’s going to be hard," said Connolly. "My husband (Chris) and I make a good team and we work together and we're problem solvers and so we'll chart a course of action and go for it."
“What's she's experienced in the last decade is more than anyone of us will experience in a lifetime," he added.
Connolly eventually went into remission before giving birth to a baby girl. During a second pregnancy, however, she found another lump.
“I was diagnosed with a local post mastectomy recurrence, which is very scary. I was four and a half months pregnant, so I went ahead and had the baby.”
Cancer free for six years now, Connolly works to help others in similar situations. As a volunteer with the American Cancer Society's Reach to Recovery Program, she visits women recently diagnosed.
“I'll take phone calls day or night," Connolly claimed.
"What she's done for women here is spread that positive attitude, that sense of cheer to someone who really didn't see any light at the end of the tunnel,” added Celeste Holland.
Connolly stresses the importance of self-exams as prevention, but can't ignore the hand of fate.
“I think someone has been watching over us the last 10 years.”
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