In talking to Cindy Young, you might hear the Cleveland Heights resident crack a joke or loosely refer to the past three years of her life as the "breast cancer odyssey."
She hasn't always taken that light-hearted approach, but the support of friends and family made her appreciate the opportunity she had a chance to fight through the disease.
"The support was incredible," she said. "They were always there, helping me through every step of it, so I never felt like I was alone.
"Also, I have to say that if you're going to have cancer, a great place to get it is Cleveland. We have great medical centers here."
Laurie Klopper is one of the people who sat by Young's side during chemotherapy and wig shopping. Klopper calls Young her best friend. In honor of her and other survivors, Klopper is throwing a Passion for Pink party Saturday at her Coventry shop, Blush Boutique.
"I was really happy to hear that she was doing the event," Young said. "I'm very honored to hear that I was her inspiration for it. I couldn't be happier."
Young draws inspiration from her 76-year-old mother, Joan Biller, who is also a breast cancer survivor.
"She is in great shape at 76 years old," Young said. "She is my inspiration."
Young also credits the services and support offered at The Gathering Place for helping her get to the point where she feels just fine.
"They have great resources there — other cancer survivors, a great library and everything from recipes to make you feel better to yoga and massage therapy," Young said. "If your family members are having trouble dealing with things, they have great counseling."
Since her diagnosis in August 2009, Young persevered through 16 chemotherapy treatments and a surgery.
"When I first started, it was like I was looking up at this mountain," she said. "It was overwhelming."
Young has since returned back to work as a graphic design artist at Case Western Reserve University. She enjoys volunteering at her daughter's school and attending her activities.
Young said she does not look at herself as a hero and acknowledges that other women have been in worse situations than her.
"If my story can inspire somebody else and help them get through dealing with it, no matter what kind of illness it may be, then sure," she said. "You just have to focus on the next day.
"'What am I doing tomorrow?' That's how you have to look at it."
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