Cancer survivor overcomes incredible odds and inspires others

Janie Zellars speaks at Annual Cancer Survivors Day

Sunday's 10th annual Cancer Survivors Day celebration was about cancer survivors finding strength and hope in each other.

Janie Zellars a cancer survivor, was joined by hundreds of others at this year's event held at the Marina Inn in Myrtle Beach. She's beaten cancer not once, but twice. In 1997, Zellars was first diagnosed with breast cancer.

"It was very devastating because after the first time of having cancer I thought that my encounter with cancer was over but I was mistaken. I was faced with it again in 2006," she explained.

That came less than ten years after her first diagnosis.

"I was told then by my doctor that I had to have immediate surgery and had to have chemotherapy but he could not promise me anything because it was just that bad," said Janie.

The diagnosis was compounded by the fact that others in her family faced the same battle.

"I think the first time in 1997 I felt I was not going to survive because I had already lost four sisters to breast cancer so I felt, you know, I'm going to end up the same way they did."

But that wasn't the case. She kept fighting for her two young sons and her family. There were periods of fear but that's when Zellers said she dug down deep inside and found her inner strength.

"I said hey it's not all about dying, it's about surviving, it's about living," she said.

Seven years after her second diagnosis, Zellars stood on stage Sunday talking to others about her journey so other cancer survivors know they are not in this battle alone.

"I'm going to tell them this, that in life you have many adversities and many difficulties, you're going to face, that's a given. But fear is a choice so I'm going to tell them not to choose fear. When it comes to dealing with cancer, don't choose fear, choose to be a fighter."

Sunday's event is just one of thousands of others across the globe celebrating Annual National Cancer Survivors Days and is known as the world's largest cancer survivor event.

WPDE NewsChannel 15's Joel Allen emceed the event. He's also a cancer survivor.