"Be active and get outside because depression sometimes comes along...

"Be active and get outside because depression sometimes comes along with fighting an illness." - Danielle Vaughan

Danielle Vaughan, 29, struggled with recurring cysts since she was just 17. In 2004 at age 22, she was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer and had a lumpectomy. Several benign tumors and cysts were found years later, including in 2010, when she was pregnant with her second child. After years of medical procedures and the mental anguish that comes with each scare, Vaughan underwent a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction. “I have peace of mind. Educating myself and being proactive in my medical care took away feelings of helplessness and instilled a desire to help others," she says.

Vaughan is well-versed in breast cancer: her mom battled the disease for eight years before passing away in 2008 at age 48. “My mother was a very strong woman. Throughout her battle she showed our family how to persevere by continuing to be the upbeat, caring, and productive woman we always knew her to be.”

Today, Vaughan is a volunteer and advocate for breast cancer awareness. Because of her and her mother’s experiences, she switched from pursuing a law degree to one in nursing, so she can make a difference in other people’s lives. She has a long-standing relationship with the American Cancer Society and will be at Jones Beach on Sunday, October 21st for the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk. She participates on her school's team and is the leader of her family's team, "Remembering Rosaria," in memory of her mother.

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