Learning from the Battle: 5 Breast Cancer Survivors Making an Impact

,,A cancer diagnosis is a game-changer. It impacts your life, your spirit, and your body. It touches your friends, your family, and pretty much every single aspect of your life. Breast cancer is, sadly, a battle that many women will be forced to face. According to the American Cancer Society, about one in eight women will develop breast cancer. That means that in our lifetime, most of us will be touched, in some way, by the disease.

But breast cancer isn't a death sentence. With proper treatment and detection, it is a war that can be won. And those who survive often come out of the battle stronger, fiercer, and with a new determination to not just change their own lives, but the lives of others - especially other women going through their own breast cancer journeys.

In celebration of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we've collected 5 amazing, inspirational stories about breast cancer survivors inspiring each other and helping to save lives. Check out these wonderful stories here:

Related: 16 easy ways to help raise money for breast cancer research

1. Emily Helck | Documented Her Journey for Others

Emily Helck created a poignant and very powerful tribute to her own breast cancer treatment through a series of stop motion images. "At first it had to do with documenting the hair saga," she wrote on her The Real Tumors of New Jersey blog. "But it wound up becoming about something else, too. The photos became hash marks scratched on the wall, marking time spent inhabiting the world of this disease. Every time I set up the tripod was another week down."

But the most powerful thing about all of this is her survival and the fact that she is still here to tell - and show - her story. Her YouTube video has already been viewed over 370,000 times in the last couple of weeks. "It's incredibly heartwarming," she told NJ.com. "My hope is that by showing what it looks like to go through treatment, I can shine a light on a little bit of that unknown."

2. Barbara Baldwin | Started an Aromatherapy Company

Barbara Baldwin has survived cancer three different times. Thirty years ago, she battled cervical cancer, then kidney cancer in 2005, and then she fought breast cancer in 2010. After she was diagnosed with breast cancer, she was inspired to help other women going through treatment for the disease. The trained aromatherapist started her own company called Physic Aromatherapy, featuring a line to be used after chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

"One minute you have doctors and nurses running around you and then next thing you know, you're on your own," the survivor said. "I wanted to try and do something about that ... I want people to know I have been through this and there's help to be had. I want to do what I can. I've just been recovering from cancer, I've had it two and a half times."

3. Raquel Smith | Helps Women Get Early Detection

"Yes, Breast Cancer has changed my life," 30-year-old Raquel Smith of Birmingham, AL stated. "But, God has given me a second life. That life is to help other women."

Ms. Smith was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 27, an age that her doctor thought was too young at first. But after a lumpectomy, they found that her cancer was "very aggressive and spreading." She had a double mastectomy and began chemo. After three months, doctors discovered something else. She was two-months pregnant with a son and had to suspend treatment. But she fought the cancer and won. And now she has found her calling - to help other women get early detection.

Ms. Smith is collecting bottles to recycle and is using the money she earns to help to pay for mammograms for women who are 35 years old and younger.

"I really feel women should start being aware of their breasts and the changes they go through as young as 16, 17 and 18 [years old]," Smith said. "If that saves three or four lives ... I feel like I've done my job."

You can read more about her story at ABC Birmingham News right here and check out her website PinkTopps right here.

4. Christina Applegate | Provides Information and Resources

"As a survivor, I am steadfastly committed to helping women access the information and tests they need to beat this disease," actress Christina Applegate said after her own battle with breast cancer back in 2008. She has proved her commitment with the formation of the foundation Right Action for Women. Her organization provides information, community, and "assistance to those individuals who are at increased risk for breast cancer and do not have insurance or the financial flexibility to cover the high costs associated with breast screenings."

It's so wonderful to see stars give back, isn't it?

You can check out Physic Aromatherapy right here.

You can watch Emily's video right here.

5. Laura Evans | Funds Research Grants

Back in 1990, Laura Evans was in the midst of fighting Stage III breast cancer with a bone marrow transplant. While recovering in isolation, she "dreamed of combining her two passions: mountain climbing and finding a cure for breast cancer." After her recovery, she felt the need to do something in support of all women battling the disease. She thought that "there was no more appropriate parallel between summiting one of the world's tallest peaks and fighting breast cancer."

In 1995, she founded the Expedition Inspiration Fund for Breast Cancer Research, and she, along with her cofounder Peter Whittaker, took 17 breast cancer survivors to Aconcagua's summit - a 22,841 climb, the the highest peak in the Western Hemisphere. And in the process, the Expedition Inspiration Fund for Breast Cancer Research raised a whole lot of money. They were able to fund "$1.75 million in research grants and more than $1 million for education and awareness."

You can find out more about Laura's Expedition Inspiration Fund for Breast Cancer Research right here, and you can check out her book, The Climb of My Life, right here.

-By Sunny Chanel

For 7 more breast cancer survivors making an impact, visit Babble!


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