Pink Up Special Report: Hattiesburg breast cancer survivor tells her story

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - In 1997, just like every year, Dawn Gillis went to the doctor for her yearly mammogram, but this time the results came back abnormal.

"I got the call from the doctor himself telling me that I had a diagnosis of breast cancer," said Hattiesburg resident Dawn Gillis. "It was difficult, I was upset, you know everybody thinks why me, but you can't let that get to you."

Dawn was diagnosed with stage one breast cancer.

"I was really fortunate in that we caught it so early," said Gillis. "I was really lucky."

Since the cancer was detected so early Dawn did not have to go through any chemo or radiation, but she still had to do through certain treatment.

"I had a mastectomy, they kept doing the bone scans and the liver workups and that went on for about five years," said Gillis.

After the five years, the doctor told Dawn she did not have to go through treatment anymore.

"I've been cancer free since then," said Gillis. 

Today, Dawn is happy to say that she is a breast cancer survivor.

"I'm enjoying life and I have been ever since then," said Gillis. "I'm involved with Waiting For a Cure Foundation, which I started after my diagnosis with breast cancer."

As a survivor, Dawn helps other women who have also been diagnosed with breast cancer.

"It's not just a rewarding thing, but it helps them get through it," said Gillis. 

While it may not be fun, Dawn suggests every woman 40 and over get their mammogram.

"Don't be afraid, and don't be afraid of the equipment," said Gillis. "It's uncomfortable for a brief instance but look at all it can do, it can save a life. Just you know, suck it up and be a woman and take care of yourself there's so much life out here."

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