Sisters inherently have a unique bond, and twin sisters even more so. Because their lives traverse a parallel timeline, their experiences are intrinsically similar. They share their thoughts, feelings and lives in ways most others can’t. But Donna and Dia Bacon, twin sisters who lost their mother to breast cancer when she was just 37 years old, share something deeper. They were both diagnosed with breast cancer within two years of each other – Donna in 2006 at the age 33, and Dia two years later in 2008. They are both currently in remission.

Donna, was the first to endure the battle with the disease. At the time of her illness she was in the midst of earning a doctorate degree, which kept her focused and extremely busy. She also drew strength from her sister, who stayed by her side throughout.

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Donna’s experience paved the road for her twin Dia. Watching her twin sister go through it all gave Dia a reference point as well as a look into the future. When she was diagnosed, she knew the routine. Dia adopted the same medical team, same amazing outlook, and same determination to move on and fight till the end. While Donna retained her fortitude and courage during her own personal battle, Dia’s diagnosis was not easy – she had a tough time being on the other side of the fight. “Her diagnosis and treatment was infinitely emotionally more difficult on me than my own diagnosis was,” Donna admits. “I am so glad I was first. We knew what to do, what doctors to go to. I also knew from my own experience that she would be okay. That was worth everything to me.”

Fortunately Dia has a tremendous amount of faith in God, which guided her through her darkest moments, a stepmom who took care of her every basic need, and her sister, who is her “rock.” Dia came away from her crusade with what she says is “a fighting spirit, a sense of achievement and empowerment.” “I didn’t smile every day,” she explains. “But when you get through it you feel like a warrior. You conquered it.”

Dia reflects on this time as a “journey of self-discovery,” and she feels as though her life was spared so that she can help other women. There is power in numbers, and the Bacon sisters are dedicating their lives to rallying round others dealing with this difficult disease. Donna volunteers and works extensively in the field of breast health and awareness, while Dia is pursuing a career in oncology. “Through cancer I found a higher purpose in life,” says Dia.