On August 2004, the comfortable and predictable world of Shari Willis Gingras was turned upside down when she was diagnosed with stage III breast cancer. She was prescribed a rigorous course of treatment that included multiple surgeries, intensive chemotherapy with significant side effects, 32 rounds of radiation and infusion of a monoclonal antibody.
At first, she felt devastated, terrified and overwhelmed. But part way through her treatment, after a bout of crying and beating on the walls of the shower, a new way of thinking about her cancer came to her. Although pain and discomfort was an inevitable part of her treatment, she didn’t have to suffer. She began to develop a mindset and coping strategies that, after 18 months of intensive treatment, left her feeling empowered, stronger, and more independent than ever before.
Shari is now using her experience and knowledge to help others cope with their own cancer journeys.
Seeing breast cancer as a “wake-up call,” she encourages and teaches women (and men) diagnosed with cancer to stop taking life for granted, to live up to their full potential, and make their lives the exciting adventures they could and should be. She helps cancer patients move from being victims of cancer to survivors of cancer, and finally, to thrivers after cancer.