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Healthy Living: Woman battling stage 4 cancer shares message of hope

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Perspective is often found in life's difficult moments, of which Dana Manciagli has had a few.

Dana was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002, at the age of 42.  The wife, and mother of two underwent treatment and the cancer went into remission.

In 2005, Dana was diagnosed a second time.  Making this battle even more difficult, Dana's twin sister, Tracy was also diagnosed with breast cancer.

"I tested positive for a gene that has a high propensity for breast cancer, BRCA," Dana said.  That meant Tracy also had the BRCA gene because they're identical twins.

In 2014, Dana laid her twin sister to rest.

"Everyday I think about Tracy," Dana said.  "She's right here on my shoulder talking to me, but I can't talk with her everyday like we used to."

Saying goodbye to Tracy broke Dana's heart, but it didn't break her spirit.

Six months after Tracy died, Dana was diagnosed with breast cancer a third time.  This time, it was stage 4, metastatic cancer, which means it spread to other parts of Dana's body.

"I'm not sure I have strength, but I have choices," Dana said.  "The word choice has become my favorite word since cancer and I'm choosing to be positive."

It's been two-and-a-half years since Dana's last cancer treatment and she's choosing to live.  She walks in memory of her sister Tracy.  She owns her own business Dana Manciagli Job Search Master Class helping veterans and others find jobs.

"We were brought together for some reason," Dana's husband, Mathis Dunn said. "I think supporting her through this ordeal she has been cursed with is really what it's all about.  I get great joy when she gets up and is singing and is feeling good."

Dana says cancer isn't a fair fight, but it has taught her, life is precious.  And the right perspective, can make all the difference.

"Life big and try to give back while you're facing this," Dana said.   "It's actually a way of reviving ourselves."

 

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