Angie Daniels: Young Mom Reaches Out to Other Young Cancer Patients

Angie Daniels and her family

Diagnosed with breast cancer when she was in her late 20s, Angie Daniels now hopes to share her story and encouragement with other young women after they receive the same life-shattering news.

“When I was diagnosed, I really didn’t have anyone to reach out to,” the Springfield mom of two young girls recalls. Other women diagnosed with breast cancer were older “and their situation was much different” than hers.

Today, she and a friend, a breast cancer survivor she met when she learned of her diagnosis, are working to start a support group for other young women who have been diagnosed with cancer. They’re collaborating with Bright Pink, a national nonprofit group that offers education and support to young women who are at high risk for breast and ovarian cancer.

They’ve hosted Bright Pink’s Breast/Ovarian Health 101 educational workshop in July with 27 people in attendance. Another workshop will be held on Oct. 8 at Northfield Inn. And they’re connecting with other women through social media with their Generation Stronger Facebook page.

“We’d like to deliver gift baskets to women who are newly diagnosed,” Angie says.

Angie is one of three women selected as Super Survivors as part of Memorial’s Be Aware Women’s Fair. The third annual event will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, in the Orr Building at the Illinois State Fairgrounds.

She and the other two Super Survivors – Becky Daugherty of Pawnee and Jennifer Finley of Buffalo – will be introduced at 12:30 p.m. on the entertainment stage, where they will reveal their full makeovers, which include a trip to BJ Grand Salon and Spa and a new outfit.

Angie was nominated by her husband, Matt, who wrote, “My wife is truly a champion in the battle against breast cancer.”

Angie’s journey began in April 2011. She found a lump in her breast and scheduled a visit with her physician to have it checked out. Because she had no family history of breast cancer, her doctor didn’t think there was a need to be concerned and arranged for a mammogram later that week.

When the mammogram results came back and her doctor wanted to follow up with a biopsy, “that’s when I knew it was serious.” After talking to a surgeon, Angie decided to move forward with a double mastectomy in June. She didn’t need to undergo chemotherapy and feels great today.

One of the hardest parts of the process was not being able to pick up her daughters – Addison and Talia, who are now 4 and 2 years old – for at least four weeks after the surgery. “I explained that I wouldn’t be able to pick them up but I could give them lots of hugs and kisses.” One of her best friends stayed with her for the month after her surgery.

Angie credits her family and her faith for giving her strength to face her battle with cancer. “Right when I was diagnosed, I decided I was going to be positive and that as a family we would get through this.”