NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – She’s a woman on a mission to not just share her story, but show that even after undergoing a double mastectomy, living a healthy active life is possible.
CBS2s Vanessa Murdock introduces us to Caroline Plank in this Komen Connection.
“I know it’s really, really scary. Face it head on, and find a friend out there,” Plank said.
Caroline Plank knows cancer all too well.
“All of my blood aunts on both sides – mom and dad’s – had breast cancer,” she said.
Plank lost her uncle to breast cancer. Her mother is a Stage 4 ovarian cancer survivor. And at 22 years old, Caroline learned she has the BRCA 2 gene mutation and was told it wasn’t a matter if she got cancer, but when.
At age 28, she felt a lump.
“I found a precancerous lump in my right breast,” she said.
She couldn’t wait any longer to take a proactive approach to beating breast cancer and opted to undergo surgery – a bilateral mastectomy. She documented her journey in the documentary Racing Against BRCA.
WATCH: Racing Against BRCA
It took six months for her body to fully heal, but all the while she remained determined to run the NYC Marathon – less than a year after surgery.
Running is her meditation.
“I wanted to show women… you are in charge of your own self. If you have the will to do something, you can do it,” Plank said.
As a Power 30 Ambassador for Susan G. Komen NYC, Caroline spreads the word about how the organization helps women and men battling breast cancer.
“It’s very real and Komen provides so much support… a community of women. We find strength in each other,” Plank said.
Over the last year she became a certified health coach and running coach and uses her personal experience, expertise and her blog Bad Lemons to help others bounce back to health and exercise after surgery – especially mastectomy.
“Take it slow, don’t be freaked out by how it feels, because it definitely feels weird,” she said.
She knows the experience can leave you feeling lost, but urges don’t be discouraged.
“The body is an amazing thing. It will heal. You’re going to get better,” she said.
Surround yourself with love and a friend, old or new, that can help guide you.
Celebrating its 30th year, the Susan G. Komen Greater NYC Race for the Cure takes place virtually starting Saturday September 12th. You’ll see Caroline online sharing warm up exercises and nutrition tips.
For more information, click here.
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