Local breast cancer survivor using her voice to help support families

More than Pink Walk will take place at Shops at La Cantera on Oct. 8

SAN ANTONIO – The National Cancer Institute estimates there will be almost 300,000 new breast cancer diagnoses in the United States just this year, and an estimated 43,000 people will die from breast cancer this year.

Anyone who is going through it, has gone through it or knows someone fighting for their life understands the struggle.

A San Antonio breast cancer survivor is using her voice to help support local families fighting and raising funds for research to find a cure.

“All I could think of because when you get that diagnosis, you think you’re going to die. So I’m trying to plan in my head who’s going to raise my sons. They’re very close to me,” said Donna Dennis.

July 28, 2017, is a day Dennis will never forget.

“He tells me that I had breast cancer, and I was really quiet. I just kind of sat there because I’m a single mother. I have two boys. My oldest was going to be a senior, and then my youngest was going to be a sophomore,” Dennis said.

That day was the start of a long journey for someone who lived an incredibly athletic, active and seemingly healthy life.

“I was a member of the 1984 Olympic team. And so I’ve always stayed active and, you know, until my knees would let me run,” Dennis said.

She went from setting track records in college, representing our country in the Olympics, and living an active lifestyle to fighting for her life.

“First, I had chemo, then I had my surgery, and then I had radiation,” Dennis said.

It was far from easy, but she stands with us today, smiling from ear to ear.

“Right now, I am a six-year survivor,” Dennis said.

She is using her story to advocate for others.

“I went through a dark tunnel. And when I say dark, I mean dark. So, as a survivor, now I want to help other women that are going through this, to say, ‘You have to understand that you’re going to go through this,’” Dennis said. “I had nobody there for me, no one to tell me this. So I want to tell other people, ‘You’re going to go through this dark tunnel, but you will come out on the other end.’”

Walking through that tunnel to get to the other side is different for everyone and every family, and this year, the Susan G. Komen Foundation is back in full force to host an event to help our community.

“Now we’re back here, and we are having a full production walk on Oct. 8 at the Shops at La Cantera,” said Jessica Mendoza, development director for Susan G. Komen.

Organizers hope the 2023 Komen San Antonio More than Pink Walk will raise $150,000.

“It goes to research, to patient care and public policy. So we do kind of have a 360 approach with the way we are kind of handling breast cancer,” Mendoza said.

The walk will also raise money to bring support to fighters like Dennis.

“We need support. Everyone needs support. Women that are going through the journey, women that have went through the journey. And, unfortunately, we all can probably say we know someone who has had breast cancer,” Dennis said.

You can get involved in the More than Pink Walk and help out by clicking here.

About the Author:

Max Massey is the GMSA weekend anchor and a general assignments reporter. Max has been live at some of the biggest national stories out of Texas in recent years, including the Sutherland Springs shooting, Hurricane Harvey and the manhunt for the Austin bomber. Outside of work, Max follows politics and sports, especially Penn State, his alma mater.