Gloria Wilson with her co-survivors — her husband of 30 years, Fernando, and her 27-year-old daughter and best friend Oni — at their favorite restaurant, Bogota Latin Bistro in Brooklyn.
© 2013 Mark Jason Photography
Cancer survivor since 1997
Gloria is a training officer.
What does being Survivor mean to you?
It means that I am blessed with the opportunity to share hope and courage with others affected with this deadly disease. I am able to provide real life testimony that it is possible to live life beyond cancer. Living life and sharing this testimony of love, while we wait for a cure and increase our courage to fight it!
How has being a Survivor affected your life?
I see life with a magnified lens, taking nothing for granted. I try to focus more on living well and sharing hope with others no matter their situation.
I was first diagnosed with breast cancer in February 1996. Treatment included a lumpectomy, full treatment chemotherapy, and radiation. In 2001, the disease recurred in the left breast. The treatment and intensity of meds was the same. This time the drugs affected my heart, and during 2002 I spent several weeks in the intensive care unit recuperating from heart failure.
I continued to live with heart problems until 2009 when my lungs gathered lots of water, shifting my organs and causing great pain. At the suggestion of my primary physician and with a referral obtained by my husband, I was able to get the highest quality treatment. In 2010, I received an LVAD pump while I waited for a new heart; I received a heart transplant that same year.
What message would you like to share with other survivors?
The photo: I chose to be photographed with my co-survivors — my husband of 30 years, Fernando, and my 27-year-old daughter and best friend Oni — at our favorite restaurant, Bogota Latin Bistro in Brooklyn.
Special thanks: To Bogota Latin Bistro, 141 5th Avenue, Brooklyn, where Gloria and her family celebrated their special evening.