Survivor Stories


Every minute, one woman is diagnosed with cancer in the United States.

That’s one mother. One daughter. One wife.

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These are the stories of women who have fought cancer. They give us HOPE.

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Thankful Persistence – Dr. Shannon Yates

Kay Yow said, “When life kicks you, let it kick you forward.” It was a motto she lived by.  Dr. Shannon Yates has been kicking it forward all of her life. Shannon lost her parents at an early age. She was 8 years old when her father passed away and 4 years later, she lost

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Fighting Towards the Finish Line

For Debbie Zimmermann, leading a healthy lifestyle was never challenging. She had found a passion for being active and was constantly setting big goals for herself in the world of Iron Mans and marathons. Preparing for these competitive events required taking care of her body, consuming a healthy diet, and overall being in tune with

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Volunteer Spotlight: Lori Edwards

In 2017, Lori Edwards was diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer. Her response? She finished treatment in 2018, continued her career, while raising her daughters, and started participating in the Kay Yow Cancer Celebration Run/Walk the next year. In 2022, Lori was an honorary co-chair for the Celebration Run/Walk, where she galvanized her friends, family,

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Miss Mindy Sopher: Filled with Joy

The following blog was written by LuLu Black, a student of Miss Mindy Sopher at NC State University: Any student at NC State who has ever had the privilege of sitting in a class with Miss Mindy Sopher could tell you that she has an extraordinary way of generating positivity and connection. In one word, Miss Mindy

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Cheryl Leone: Finding the Joy

Every single day Cheryl Leone defies the odds. Science says she should not be here. Statistics say she should have left us 16-17 years ago. A decade and a half later, she is still here – still living with joy, still inspiring. Cheryl was diagnosed with stage IV vulvar cancer in 2005. She was given

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Finding Joy, Giving Hope…

Kay Yow said, “We have little or no control over what happens to us in life, but we have 100% control over how we will respond.” Kay Yow didn’t just say this, she lived it. DeAlva Carraway lives it too. DeAlva is now six and a half years post-cancer. She talks about her journey and

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A Reason for Hope…

Ashley is a stage IV, metastatic breast cancer survivor. She identifies as a survivor, earning it the hard way. Ashley is a walking embodiment of why research is important – and she knows it. It all started in 2010 with a stage 2 breast cancer diagnosis. The diagnosis led to a double mastectomy and chemotherapy.

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The Gift of Options…

We have come a long way in our discussion of cancer. Body parts, lumps, bumps, symptoms and side effects are all fair game. We discuss them openly, as we should. Our society has effectively exposed cancer for what it is – an insidious disease. And still, there are parts of cancer we don’t unpack. For

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If you have any questions or do not receive an email, please contact fellow Cancer Warrior and our director of community engagement, Sarah Womack at sarah.womack@kayyow.com