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Chapter Leader: Irene Flores

“I’m a STAGE IB1 cervical cancer survivor. Those were the darkest days of my life in 2009- 2010. I was told that my abnormal cells could clear up on their own because I was young. Well, they didn’t and it progressed dramatically. Cancer does not discriminate or care how old you are. I know my body and I knew I should’ve trusted my gut feeling that something was not right.

“It’s not just going to doctor appointments and undergoing chemoradiotherapy treatments that were life-changing, it was my state of mind that was under attack as well. I went through it all—the denial, the anger, asking God to please help me fight this and falling under the fear that I wasn’t going to survive. I knew at some point I had to give it my all and become more positive, so I took my life back. I stayed positive, even when I felt weak, crying, in pain and after my therapy and appointments. I kept my son, my late fiancé and family close because they gave me more strength to fight—especially my son, as he was very young at the time and saw what this “sickness” was doing to mommy. But I never missed a game, a meeting, a recital…I was always there.

“I challenged this cancer full force and I succeeded. I thank God every day for giving me another opportunity to cherish my family, friends and life. I will never take anything for granted any more. I placed my heart under his protection and love. I want to spread awareness and help all the women I come across to not to neglect their Pap smears and let them know that the earlier cancer is diagnosed, the better the prognosis.”

-Irene “Reeny” Flores