Betty Rodriguez was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer in April of 2007. Life as she knew it came to a sudden stop, as she now had to begin the fight of her life. Uncertain about her future and that of her three sons, Betty endured her treatments with the love and support of her husband and those around her, as well as words of wisdom from her grandmother: “If you fall, clean your knees, cheer up, and keep walking.”

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Longing to talk to others who were going through the same experience, she attended Adelphi University’s support group. They were extremely instrumental in getting her through the rough spots, and she is grateful for their “immense generosity and patience.” With a lifelong dream of being a baker, Betty decided to take wedding cake decorating classes during her ordeal. Her ability to express herself creatively and fulfill one of her passions helped her persevere. She is forever indebted to her amazing team of doctors and nurses who provided her with such excellent care – and her life. Thankfully, Betty also inherited some of her grandmother’s spirited genes; her own philosophy being “half of the treatment is the medicine; the other half is your attitude.”

Of Latin descent herself, her ultimate goal is to reach out to Latin women who are battling breast cancer, as they are usually afraid to seek help due to the language barrier. Betty’s final message to other survivors is this: “Remember that with or without a breast, women are simply wonderful beings.”