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Exactly six months before my diagnosis, I turned 30 years old. Married and a mother to young boys, I was filled with hopes and dreams, oblivious to the reality that my world, as I knew it, would soon end. In August, 1996 I was diagnosed with a life threatening cervical spinal cord tumor. My doctors told me I would be a quadriplegic within five years. I began radiation treatment to shrink the tumor. Ten months later I was given one to three months to live. I would not see my next birthday. Yet I survived and thrived. I fought for my life with the help of my family and today I see life as an opportunity to love each moment. My illness affected every part of my life-as a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend and an individual. These roles made me who I was when my illness struck, and today my illness has defined those roles with greater clarity. Everyone has a story that lives within us. This is my story.