Survivor Stories

Are you a self-advocate? Share your story.


Ashley from California: “To insurance companies, I was more of a liability than a human being worthy of saving.”
At age 25, I had my first scare with cancer when a mole turned out to be stage 1 melanoma. Despite being insured, more than $10k in out-of-pocket expenses accumulated for this relatively minor brush with cancer. Far more damaging, however, was the resulting “pre-existing condition” that would forever tarnish my health record.   Read More »

Rob, a cancer survivor: “I am alive because of the Affordable Care Act.”
I am alive because of the Affordable Care Act. Having affordable and decent medical insurance allowed me to receive treatment for cancer which saved my life. But now, as my elected representatives are voting to repeal The Affordable Care Act and allowing insurers to reinstate the pre-existing conditions exclusion, they are essentially voting for me and millions of others to lose their coverage and then to die.   Read More »

Rain, a cancer survivor: “The ACA saved my life.”
Anyone who’s received a cancer diagnosis knows the terror of those first few days and weeks. Waiting anxiously for test results; hoping for the best while fearing the worst; anticipating the grueling course of treatment. For some, especially those without health insurance, there is also the prospect of inadequate treatment, loss of stable housing, and financial ruin. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, I was not in the latter category.   Read More »

Christopher from Illinois: “The ACA has helped in many ways through these trying times.”
I discovered that I had a brain tumor in the fall of August 2014 at the age of 36, while my wife was four months pregnant with our first child. Full tumor resection occurred immediately, and I returned to work 8 weeks later. When I returned, I was told there was no re on-boarding plan because they didn’t think I was coming back.   Read More »

Elisa Shea, Ewing’s sarcoma survivor
My name is Elisa Shea, and I am a 23-year cancer survivor. In 1985, I was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare type of bone cancer. My treatment was typical of most childhood cancer patients. It included 18 months of chemotherapy, six weeks of radiation and three surgeries. Read More »

Debbie Cook, breast cancer survivor
I am a two-time breast cancer survivor. Thirteen years ago, my doctor found a mass on my breast during a routine mammogram. Fortunately it was encapsulated, allowing me to have a lumpectomy, followed by chemotherapy and radiation to eradicate the cancer and reduce the chances of recurrence. Read More »

Danielle Duran Baron, liver cancer survivor
It took me nearly two years and 20 doctors to learn that I had liver cancer at the age of 28. With no risk factors, nothing could have been further from my mind – or my doctor’s – when I went for a medical workup prior to having a liposuction procedure. Read More »

colleenColleen Hofmeister, breast cancer survivor
Since the day I was diagnosed with Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer in February 2007, I have been wrestling alligators. Not literally, of course, but figuratively as I step away from my family and friends to receive difficult treatments and tests, face harsh news and look deep into my soul. Read More »

Cindy Weiler, colon cancer survivor
My life is a testament to the value of routine colonoscopies. When I turned 50, my physician urged me to have a baseline colonoscopy. I had spent my life taking good care of myself, maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Read More »

Brooke Hamilton, three-time melanoma survivor
As a teenager and young adult, I always felt more comfortable with people who were older than me. When I was diagnosed with my first early-stage melanoma at 18, I realized I had even more in common with older people. Read More »

Anne Willis, Ewing’s sarcoma survivor
When I finished treatment for Ewing’s sarcoma at the age of 16, I just wanted to be a normal teenager again. On my last day of treatment my oncologist told me to come back in three months for a checkup. Read More »