Sonya Rose AtkinsonSonya Rose Atkinson
Diagnosed: Age 39
Currently battling hereditary breast cancer
Now: Age 40

"I'm climbing the highest mountains to survive, with many challenges along the way. I'm remaining strong and carrying on...Enlightened, rising above breast cancer, and seeing the bigger picture."

Inspirations: "The big bosom lady who appeared to me one night in my dream and warned me to get my breasts checked a.s.a.p. [Also], the Pink Lotus Breast Center who diagnosed me with breast cancer during the Festival of St. Agatha (Patron Saint of Breast Cancer), and saved my life. All the people in my life-saving circle who reach out continuously...I love them with all my heart."

Advice to new patients: "Take one day at a time. Find your inner strength, courage, and faith to get through...If you look too far ahead, you might get dizzy and pass out from it all. Ask yourself: 'What makes me feel nurtured, encouraged?' Do whatever possible to make you feel special because you are. Be patient, learn to wait, take a drive, breathe in that fresh air—life. If you have something to look forward to...if you have love in your life, it will help pull you through. Never forget, you're not alone."

How I've changed: "I've adopted an even a stronger will to live (this comes after my fight with advanced Lyme Disease)."

What I'm proud of: "Letting go of my pride and not shutting myself off from friends and family. I realiz[ed] that I'm not able to resolve these problems on my own…[I've let] others see my weakness and guide me through troubled times (which was not easy). My school friends from my hometown of Beaver County in Pennsylvania started a Web site Time to Lend a Hand. I'm humbly grateful for their love and support in my breast cancer survivorship."

What I wish everyone knew: "How beautiful he or she is."

Via Women's Health Magazine