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Survivor To Triathlete

When faced with a cancer diagnosis at 24 years old, Ginny threw herself whole-heartedly into fighting the disease. After 6 cancer-free years, Ginny is a conquering triathlete.

Name
Ginny Nelson

City / State
Layton, UT

What was your big dream?
My overall dream was to live to see my son grow up, and to hopefully have more children in the future. In 2002 I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the young age of 24. By the time we found it, the cancer had already spread to my lymphnodes and my odds of survival were not the greatest. My only child had just turned one and all I could think about was being here for him. That gave me the push to do whatever I could to fight. I was going to beat cancer and that was that. After meeting my 6 year cancer free mark, I decided that it was time to push my body to see what it was capable of after all that it had been through with cancer treatments. I decided to train for the Ogden Valley Triathalon and I completed it this past September.

How did you accomplish it?
I did everything I knew I could do to fight. Medically, I had the most aggressive treatment I could have. It began with a radical mastectomy, 6 months of chemotherapy, and 25 rounds of radiation. Meanwhile I was doing whatever I could holistically with herbs, raw fruits and vegetables, and juicing. I also started taking classes in yoga, meditation, and Tai Chung to help relieve stress and to get me through the ordeal mentally. I read a lot of inspirational books, and books that made me laugh. I had a friend who had been through cancer years earlier and she gave me some great advice. She told me to laugh as much as possible. She said that studies had proven that laughter heals. So she said to read funny books, watch funny movies, live and enjoy my life to the fullest each day even if I didn’t feel great and I would heal faster and get through it easier. I think she was right. Six years later I am the mother of 3 children and healthier than ever.

Where did you find inspiration to get started?
I had a lot of support from friends and family who were cheering me on. I would get cards and letters in the mail from friends who were thinking of me and praying for me. I would even get cards from people I didn’t know who said they had heard about me from a friend or family member and that they were praying for me and my family. People would leave little surprise packages, or flowers at my door to sweeten the day. It was just amazing to see the outpouring of love and kindness that was shown to me and my family.

What motivated you to keep going?
My family. I wanted to live more than anything else in the world. That was all that mattered.

What’s your next Big Dream?
I want to get to my 10 year cancer free mark so I can have a huge celebration and invite all of my family and friends for the greatest party ever. I would also like to continue doing Triathlons and progressively get faster with each one that I compete in.

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

What about when you were 15?
A marine biologist

Now, what do you want to be when you grow up?
Forever healthy, and an amazing wife, mother, friend, cook, seamstress, gardener, and accomplished musician. I better have more time because I still have a lot to learn!

What book is on your night stand?
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

What’s your Guilty Pleasure? (Grey’s Anatomy, Peppermint Mocha Lattes)
Anything chocolate

What song moves you?
Crazy Love by Paul Simon

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