Faces of a Warrior: Danila Sigal

Stories of Surviving and Thriving

August 27, 2017
Categories: 

Age: 50
Profession: Retired Corporate Executive now a Composer & Author
Breast Cancer Type: Metastatic HER2+
Year of Diagnosis: 2002
Number of Years as a Survivor: 15
Relationship to Susan G. Komen: Komen Supporter; Donor


I have been battling metastatic breast cancer for 15 years, outliving an original prognosis of 6 months, have undergone several recurrences, surgeries, radiations, and chemotherapy protocols. While still in the battle, I can tell you that being a Survivor means taking a proactive role in one's healing.  

The doctors and the medical community do their part, but we, the patients, must do our own by not giving power to the illness. While we must listen and respect our doctors’ recommendations, and bless them every day for the wonderful work they do, we must take ownership by choosing our thoughts well, by focusing on the people we love, on doing the things we treasure and living our present as a gift. 

This is how I have come this far, continuing to pursue my work and my personal projects with the same enthusiasm as always, which has kept me grounded and motivated.    

Certainly my family has kept me going throughout my journey, in particular my spouse and my kids; plus, the support system of having dear friends, several siblings, parents, nieces, nephews, and wonderful in-laws. Further, having a person with whom to share your life, someone who accepts your flaws as much as values your virtues, is a fundamental element to getting me through this journey, especially given the physical transformation breast cancer represents.

I would say cancer has been a gift; might not have been a welcomed gift at first, but with time I realized I needed to turn this diagnosis into something good and constructive for my life. Besides giving me a reality check to value even more my life's blessings, cancer impulsed me to do many things I would probably not have pursued otherwise. I published my memoir; I awakened my dormant musical passion by launching an inspirational album; and have led yearly artistic photographic breast cancer awareness campaigns to encourage other patients to transform their fears. 

I've always thought that if we focus on serving others, we downplay our own problems; and while I am no expert in medical matters, or a preacher of any kind, I just hope that through my experience I can convey my strong belief that difficult circumstances in life are better dealt with by having a positive attitude as well as a pragmatic outlook about things. We might fall many times, but as one of my songs expresses, the key is ensuring we always Stand Up!

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About the Faces of a Warrior Campaign

In 2015, to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Komen Miami/Ft. Lauderdale Race for the Cure®, Susan G. Komen Miami/Ft. Lauderdale teamed with 101.5 LITE FM to launch the Faces of a Warrior campaign. 

To mark the 22nd Annual Race for the Cure®, Komen is spotlighting 22 survivors to represent each year the Race has run. These individuals are sharing their stories of strength and resilience -- not just of surviving breast cancer, but thriving in spite of it.

Read the stories of more Warriors here

For more information on the Faces of a Warrior campaign -- and other ways you can get involved in the Race for the Cure® -- please email [email protected] or call 954-909-0454