Mary Frances Cunningham was diagnosed with stage 2 estrogen and progesterone positive breast cancer in 2011, and as of April 1st she will be a survivor and thriver for four years and nine months!
Passionate about her family, spiritual path, and journey to positive healing, Mary Frances is proof that cancer was something she had to battle courageously, not something that would define her! A mother to Margaret Ann (23) and Henry (19), and wife to Robin, Mary Frances has many reasons to be thankful. She and Robin will celebrate their third anniversary in May, and describes him as the love of her life.
Following her initial diagnosis Mary Frances felt a sea of emotions: fear, dread, isolation, denial, and after a period of grieving, finally gratitude. Her first reaction was to forge ahead with this battle alone. Luckily, one of her best friends forced her hand and sent an email to all within her inner circle informing them of her diagnosis. Grateful after the fact, Mary Frances realized she needed the support during this emotional and overwhelming time. Dedicated friends proved to be her biggest cheerleaders, accompanying her to every appointment. Their unwavering support proved she wasn’t alone in her battle, and that she was surrounded by unconditional love.
Mary Frances’ message to other women fighting a similar battle is to remember that everyone’s journey is different. Embracing hope and involving loved ones to share in the discomfort, worry and fear is important. As a survivor, she wants to be able to share the ups and downs of her battle with women who are currently fighting, but is weary to share the “horror stories” as she understands they need more encouragement during such a fragile time in their lives.
Her strength came from giving everything to God, grieving and gratitude. She is grateful to be a part of this year’s Bra Couture KC event because the services that are offered to the women of this community deeply motivate her. Watching last year’s models Angie, Amy and Paula strut the runway have inspired her and proved to her she can do this!
She wants to leave everyone with the serenity prayer, which has been with her throughout her journey. “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
Written By Amanda Owens, UCM PR Student Volunteer