I was teaching yoga in the Caribbean to unwind from my otherwise hectic work life and came home to incredible right flank pain that was moving around to my back. Went to Riverview hospital on advices of my fabulous GP to uncover a baseball sized tumor in my retroperitoneaum…lodged between my kidneys and adrenals leaning up against my inferior vena cava. Fast forward to an originally planned 10 hr kidney auto transplant surgery at NYPresbyterian/Cornell for a 4 in 1 million soft tissue diagnosis of Leiomyosarcoma…a highly recurrent, erratic and no cure type of sarcoma cancer that affects up to 20% of children diagnosed with cancer annually.
As an athlete and businessowner seasoned in unexpected setbacks, I simply refocused my attention and direction on what I could do with this startling news. I could keep moving, working, living out loud and I could “pay it forward” in ways that would hopefully serve others well with my giftedness. So I kept going. Speaking professionally, doing sprint triathlons, teaching yoga, supporting a research foundation for LMS and most recently, mid life modeling, pageantry and creating a non profit KickCancerOverboard which encourages those touched by cancer has kept me busy. I’m Mrs Red BankUS platforming for rare cancer awareness in a bikini with a sixteen inch torso scar in kitty heels in midlife simply because I can!
I’m speaking so much now that my fabulous webmaster has created a website that entails my speaking topics, clients to date, testimonials and advocacy work around empowerment and LMS awareness. The great part of all of this is I’m doing what I really love! by helping people step into their greatness despite the adversity they face. I’m speaking across the country, advocating for others globally thru my blog and networking for and with others around medical issues, business opportunities and community service. Cancer’s certainly not a gift because I wouldn’t give it to anybody, but my husband and my dual cancer journey(he was diagnosed w multiple myeloma as my hair was growing back from chemo) has hopefully helped others gain perspective and encouragement around what’s truly possible through challenges…more opportunities!
To read Donnalyn’s blog, visit this link: http://donnalyn.org/category/blog/