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Prioritizing What Helps Her Thrive: Danielle Dennis

Danielle Dennis

"When you get into treatment, you have a choice — you can dwell on where you are, or you can focus on the things you have to look forward to."

Danielle Dennis
Ovarian Cancer

“My first thought was, no way, not me. I had no symptoms,” said Danielle Dennis, remembering when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

For Danielle, that was her daughter’s soccer games.

“I was always out there — bald as could be,” she said.

Through surgery, a clinical trial, and chemotherapy, Danielle kept her eyes on milestones and set goals for herself. One particular goal was to see her youngest daughter, Cailee, graduate from high school.

“I would think, I can sit here and take this medicine, and I know that in two days I’m not going to feel good, but I know two days after that, I’ll feel better,” she said.

Danielle focused on shifting her mindset. She left her job to focus full-time on an annual garage sale fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, raising more than $73,000 over several years.

She wanted to give back to cancer patients and contribute to the research that enabled her treatment. She also began teaching cancer patients how to knit hats.

“My mom’s change after cancer has been huge,” Cailee said. “The way she looks at life and the way she helps people — when she went through the hard treatments, it made her love to give back.”

Cailee also joined the fundraiser efforts, and draws inspiration from her mother. With high school graduation and college coming up, Cailee says she plans to become a nurse, so she can give back like her mother does.

Two years after her last treatment, Danielle is about to see Cailee graduate and start playing soccer in college. And she’s setting new goals.

“At first, I couldn’t plan four years ahead,” she said, knowing that her cancer had a high chance of recurrence. “But now, I think my goal will be to keep cheering Cailee on.”

The information included in this testimonial is based on one patient’s unique experience and is not intended to represent all patient outcomes or expectations.