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A Survivor’s Dream

When Erin was diagnosed with Breast Cancer at age 26 her hopes where simple – to live to see her babies go to school. Dealing with the obstacles and fears of a young cancer patient, she and a fellow cancer patient were inspired to create a support group, The Young Survivor Sisters.

Name
Erin Gadd

City / State
South Jordan, Utah

What was your big dream?
To beat cancer and see my boys go to Kindergarten and to maybe someday have a daughter.

How did you accomplish it?
After being diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 26, I knew I had a long, tough road ahead of me. The cancer was aggressive enough it required surgery, 6 months of Chemotherapy followed by 6 weeks of radiation and a year of another type of intravenous treatment.

I felt so nervous and scared and wanted to talk to someone who had been through it so I could ask the dozens of questions I had. But everyone the doctors knew were all A LOT older than me. Finally a nurse called with the name of another girl who was 24 and was going through the same thing. To make a long story short, we ended up starting a support group for women who are diagnosed with breast cancer under age 40… The Young Survivor Sisters. These sisters helped me accomplish my goal of getting healthy.

Where did you find inspiration to get started?
My husband and sweet boys (then age 3 and 1) helped me realize that even though the road would be tough, it would be worth it. My Heavenly Father ultimately blessed me with the strength and courage to start that first treatment and helped sustain me through the most difficult time of my life. With the support of my dear friend Ginny, who helped create our support group, we could talk to one another and help each other through all the many questions that come from this diagnosis.

What motivated you to keep going?
My husband and 2 little boys kept me focused on the goal. Get through chemo and be healthy. I wanted to live long enough to see their cute smiling faces the day they headed off to Kindergarten. I also was motivated by the other survivor sisters and their positive outlooks. Just having another person there who knows what you’re going through is such a tremendous help. I was not alone!!!

I also tried to serve others. By thinking about what I could do for other people helped me forget my troubles and get my mind on something else. During my treatments I served as the President of my church’s youth organization, helping girls ages 12 to 18 achieve their spiritual goals. I never realized that I would be the one who benefited from this service. The girls would often bring me fun gift bags with hats and treats; they decorated my house with hearts and would baby-sit for ALL of my radiation appointments. I couldn’t have done it without them and all of my great neighbors who brought me dinner and cleaned my house!!

I also used humor… A LOT! Because a lot of times if I wasn’t laughing, I’d be crying! I started collecting humorous quotes to help me along. My favorite is… Even when you fall flat on your face…at least you’re still moving forward!!

Two years after finishing all my treatments, I was able to get pregnant and have a daughter! We call her our miracle baby!

What’s your next Big Dream?
I would love to live long enough to be a Grandma! I know that’s asking for like 20 or 30 more years, but it would be great! Also, I’d like to make my little photography business a BIG success! Last year I decided to start a photography business because I wanted to capture the precious moments we have in life. I feel so blessed to have been given a second chance at life, so now I try to enjoy each day a little more, no matter what the day brings. I look at my daughter everyday and realize what a miracle she is. I send my boys to school and realize what a miracle it is that I get to see them off every day.

I named my business Pink Daffodil Photography. Pink is for breast cancer, of which I’m a survivor!! YAY!! And Daffodil is the cancer flower. I hope to help others realize the everyday miracles they experience in their own lives by capturing them on film. You can check out my work at www.pinkdaffodilphoto.blogspot.com.

When you were 5 what did you want to be when you grew up?
A ballerina

What about when you were 15?
A Psychologist or a photographer

Now, what do you want to be when you grow up?
A great wife; a great Mom; and a great photographer!

What book is on your night stand?
Way to Be! By Gordon B. Hinckley

What’s your Guilty Pleasure? (Grey’s Anatomy, Peppermint Mocha Lattes)
Oh, how I love sweets!! Easter candy is my favorite with jelly beans and malted eggs…mmmm; but in the off season, I settle for some Mike and Ike’s or caramel Werther’s…so tasty!

What song moves you?
This is a tough question for me because I LOVE music. I play the piano and write music of my own. There are so many to pick from…. For songs that emotionally move me, I really love the church hymn “Where Can I Turn for Peace?”, Sarah Mclachlan’s “Ordinary Miracle” and Tim McGraw’s “Live Like You Were Dying.” Songs that PHYSICALLY MOVE me I would have to say “Move This” and “Pump up the Jam” by Technotronic…(that’s what I exercise to!!)

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