Nursing student Angela Di Pietra was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004 at the age of 34.
Still, despite dark times "when I'd have to work hard to find something to be happy about," Di Pietra chose to remain hopeful. She relied on the three "Fs:" family, friends and faith. "I've always had a strong faith thanks to my parents, so turning to prayer was natural for me," says the Elmont resident, who lost her mother to breast cancer in 1992.
Her friends couldn't have been more supportive. "They drove me to chemo, showed up for my surgeries, held my hand, hugged me, made me laugh, and let me cry when I needed to," she says. They even threw a fundraiser to help Di Pietra with her medical expenses, because she had no health insurance.
Joining a support group was crucial, she adds. "It gave me comfort to think of the women who went through this before me. If they could do it, so could I."