A Sisterhood of Survivors: 7 Women Who Beat Breast Cancer

Over 245,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed this year, according to the American Cancer Society…

Athleta is committed to helping find a cure for the disease, and we donate to National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) every year. NBCF’s mission is to help women now by providing help and inspiring hope to those affected by breast cancer through early detection, education and support services.

We believe it’s important to celebrate the success stories so that all women undergoing treatment can have hope of a healthy tomorrow. We recently invited 7 survivors to join us for a photo shoot and share their experience.

breast cancer

From L to R: Andrea, Paige, Ellen, Trinh, Alexia (Trinh’s niece), Mary, Renee, Laura, Rebecca (Laura’s daughter).

Over the next few weeks, we’ll dive deeper into their stories as they share what got them through treatment, what they learned, and how they live life differently now.

Meet The Survivors


When Mary’s dad died after having a simple biopsy, she’d never felt so low and anxious in her life. While driving home from Santa Barbara after spreading his ashes, she felt a pain in her left breast. She told her husband it was either breast cancer or a broken heart. A nurse practitioner friend took a look as soon as Mary got home, and urged her to get a biopsy immediately. After 2 rounds of chemo and 6 weeks of radiation, Mary is now cancer-free. She recently launched her own line of clean skincare products.


Ellen was putting her Masters in genetics to good use, working as a science teacher at the local public school, when she felt the lump in her breast. Even after a double mastectomy and reconstruction, she still had to undergo 8 rounds of chemotherapy. Her friends jumped in to help manage her 4 kids, all under the age of 13, so Ellen could let go of the day-to-day worries. She’s now cancer-free and volunteers as a mentor to other women who have recently been diagnosed.


When Andrea was diagnosed with cancer in 2012, she and her husband flipped into fighter mode and prepared for battle. Andrea turned to the Bay Area Young Survivors for support, and found strength meeting like-minded women who’ve “been there, done that.” Post-treatment, Andrea welcomed a daughter and just this week, she gave birth to a healthy son!


When Paige’s radiologist called to confirm the lump she’d felt was cancer, the phone call altered her reality. The first thought that popped into her head was “what if my children have to go through life without me?” She considers herself one of the lucky ones who was able to skip chemo and radiation and have all the cancer removed over the course of 5 surgeries. Throughout the ordeal, she was able to rely on another mom – Ellen! – for support, guidance, and a caring ear.


Battling cancer became Trinh’s full time job when she was diagnosed in 2013. During her chemo and radiation treatments, her 14 nieces and nephews kept her spirits up by bringing gifts, walking her dog, and coming by to just hang out. Now she says she never waits for tomorrow. She encourages everyone to “Live in the present. Put what matters closest to your heart first, and everything else follows after that.”


When Renee moved to the Bay Area, finding a new doctor slipped down on her list of priorities. She finally scheduled her yearly mammogram three years later. A suspicious area turned out to be cancer, but Renee responded with what she calls a “warrior mentality.” She fed off words of encouragement – “you’ve got this” or “you are going to kick cancer’s a**” – to boost her inner strength. Now she says, “post-cancer life is about enjoying every moment and appreciating the people and things that make it special.”


Laura’s breast cancer story started with a gut feeling. She was training for the New York City marathon and even teaching pilates… she felt healthy except for a “pit of your stomach feeling that would not go away.” When a routine mammogram revealed she had cancer, she understood what that gut feeling had been. She was determined to live her life normally, and continued teaching pilates to stay sane. Now cancer-free, she makes bracelets that she gives to survivors and those currently battling cancer.


Every weekend in the month of October, join us for FREE weekend yoga classes in stores. Get your sweat on and give an optional donation to the NBCF to show your support! Find your nearest Athleta store calendar here.

1 Comment
Sam Barrett

October 03, 2016 at 5:20 pm

It is so great to see these women honored. I lost my Mom to Ovarian and brain cancer 17 years ago. My sister found two lumps on her breast six years ago. She was treated and has been “Cancer-Free” for five years. There was not much help found to help with bills ; such as gas and heating in our state. I since volunteer for Susan Komen yearly. Thank you for bringing this disease to the fore. We went through treatments with her, Doctor appointments, Nausea, etc. Even her job gave her limited time off. We had to fight for that.

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