Breast cancer survivor goes viral for creative way to help patients cope, laugh & love
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.-- (CBS12)-- After having a double mastectomy and chemo, one local comedic actress's dream was to inspire others to go beyond a "diagnosis" or traumatic event and learn to laugh at what life gives them.
Aniela McGuinness is a proud wife, daughter and breast cancer survivor. She was recently guest speaker at the Red Door Luncheon in honor of her mother who passed away with cancer & in support of Gilda's Club South Florida's mission with Cancer Treatment Centers of America. The Love & Laughter event took place at the St. Andrews Country Club in Boca Raton.
"Gilda's Club is an amazing organization that help patients going through chemo, providing them and their families support and a platform to be creative, paint and to laugh & love."
At 31 years old, she remembers day her doctor told her she had breast cancer.
And the day she cried while shaving off all her hair.
But this is not your typical survivor story. Aniela began to document her journey on social media along with YouTube and began using comedy and honesty to show the inside of the journey. So she created My Breast Choice. And it's gone viral.
"While I was going through a double mastectomy and chemo, a friend co-wrote a one woman show with me, "I Don't Have Cancer", that I preformed while I was still in treatment."
Aniela says it was an outlet that helped her process the emotions she was fighting with and kept her mind active so that she didn't fall victim to "chemo brain". It gave her tremendous joy and energy because she was creating and having fun despite the circumstances.
"During treatments I also created a photo series following my mastectomy using bright colors and humor that went viral. When I was researching mastectomies I was bombarded by the harsh medical images or the overly sappy ones, so I made the kind of photos I would have wanted to see."
Not only does she hope her story inspires others, she wants them to know they can go beyond just surviving to thriving.
"Know that you're growing and learning. And the things that you lose, like you hair, your fingernails, your energy...those aren't the things that make you who you are. You are more beautiful and valuable without them."
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