Survivor Portrait Gallery

Annette G. Rodriguez

New York City
Age:  41
Breast cancer survivor since 2006  


Mother, dancer, choreographer


What does being a Survivor mean to you?
Being a Survivor means waking up each and every single day and making sure to take in everything around you — from the beautiful clouds going by to the moon, which is still out not yet ready to hide. It means to stop and smell the roses and to treat every single day like it may be your last, to go to bed with no regrets of what has been done or said. It mostly means to remain positive because life could be so much worse than what you are currently dealing with.

How has being a Survivor affected your life?
I have always been the type of person to give to others to the fullest.  I have always told my girls that we may not have much, but I have done so much for others that if I ever were in need or if they were ever in need of something, I don’t doubt the doors would open up in a minute to help us out.  Giving back is our way of life — not forgetting that no matter where you live or come from it is just temporary, and you can go anywhere you want in life.  I will admit initially when I was told I had breast cancer I thought, “It was just a matter of time.”  It hit my aunt and my grandma and so many family members, but I was young and I had two little girls at the time. 

So I did what any New Yorker would do. I put on my leather jacket and made myself “Super-Mom.”  I made sure to be there to pick up and do everything I could to keep it together till I would get home. When my husband would get home, I would go to bed and just sleep — I would be drained, but I did it.  I thought accepting help would mean I was accepting the disease, so I went on this way for a long time. 

Finally, I shared what I was going through and, amazingly, there were letters and support from friends and family.  It was amazing.  I feel I have always been blessed, but now I not only have friends and family who love and support me, but also my extended family through my “Sisterhood of Pink,” as I call it.  They are all the friends that I have made, who have walked the same if not similar path I have gone through, and now are continuing to fight or just keeping everyone strong when needed. 

I was honored to do the choreography for the Flash Mob at the 2011 Susan Komen Greater NYC Race for the Cure on September 18th in Central Park to Firework by Katy Perry. It was another great experience — seeing so many come out to support such a great cause.

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