Now cancer-free, former Olympian Shannon Miller talks about Cycle for Survival and her passion for raising awareness.
I was diagnosed with a malignant germ cell tumor, a form of ovarian cancer, in January 2011. The diagnosis was a complete shock. Here I was a retired Olympic athlete, running a company focused on women’s health and wellness; I certainly wasn’t thinking of cancer when I went to see my OBGYN to prepare for baby #2. I went through surgery to remove the baseball-size tumor and followed up with an aggressive nine-week chemotherapy regimen. The good news was that my cancer was caught early. We know that no matter what type of cancer we are dealing with, the earlier we catch it, the better our chance of survival. Early detection saves lives.
Cancer doesn’t care how many gold medals you have.
I’m very fortunate to be able to use my voice to help others focus on their health. I want women to be confident in making their health a priority. Cancer doesn’t care how many gold medals you have. It doesn’t care where you’re from or if you have time for it. That’s why we have to be our own best health advocates. I did not learn the symptoms for ovarian cancer until after I was diagnosed. I look back now, and realize I likely did have two or three of the warning signs, however, like many, I either ignored them completely or chalked up my issues to being a busy mom.
Now, cancer free, I continue to speak out on the topic with a renewed passion for raising awareness, education and funding for all cancers. We are all touched by cancer in some way whether it is us or a dear loved one. I’m excited to partner with a variety of organizations to continue to raise awareness and much needed funding including Cycle for Survival, a national indoor team cycling event held with Equinox. It focuses on raising awareness and funds for rare cancer research (such as ovarian, pancreatic and all children’s cancers) at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Each of us can truly make a difference in our own health and the health of others. Together we can fight back against this horrendous disease!