Tanya Clark


Love Gives Me Strength

When I was diagnosed at 42, I was going through a divorce and most of my family lived out of state. I was working full time and teaching Zumba classes three times per week. I was also dating someone new who seemed supportive, but the week of my lumpectomy he ended things by simply never calling me again. Thankfully I had wonderful friends that came to my rescue in every sense of the word. 

A dear friend cleared her work schedule just to take me to both surgeries and 13 rounds of chemotherapy. My Zumba family came together to support me in ways I could never have imagined. Fellow Zumba instructor friends put together a fundraiser which blew me away as well. Some of my cousins from out of state surprised me by showing up early on Saturday to participate in the event. Looking back, I had so much love and support from so many incredible people that I felt like, despite cancer, I was the luckiest girl in the world. 

Then, I was chosen by Zumba to participate in a photo and video shoot while I was bald and in the middle of chemo. That was a turning point for me because of the love I felt from all of those people, including the other cancer survivors I met that week. I had so much love around me, from so many directions. 

My family was so supportive, even from out of state. On the last day of chemo, I went to the family cottage in Maine to celebrate the 4th of July. I was greeted by my closest relatives all wearing a shirt they had made to support me in my journey and recovery. To see 75 or so relatives all wearing matching shirts, just to show their love and support for me, there are just no words. 

I may have been single while going through cancer treatment, but I was showered with more love than I’ve ever felt in my entire life. Life is good a year later as I continue to have good check-ups. I’m cancer free and as luck would have it, I met the most incredible man and we recently moved in together. As much as I wish I could have met him before cancer, I truly believe that everything happens for a reason and now I am enjoying every moment in life, one day at a time, with him, my family and friends all surrounding me with love.