For longtime Dunwoody resident Chris Cox, “taking it easy” was never a part of her vocabulary. With over 20 years of experience and overwhelming success in a highly competitive insurance industry, Chris was driven by one word: action. And she applied this philosophy to every aspect of her life including volunteer work, charitable organizations and her church.
But in 2009, her action-focused lifestyle came to a screeching halt when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. The news seemed surreal, almost impossible. But more than anything, she felt “alone” under the weight of it.
Of course Chris had unwavering support from her husband, her doctors, her tennis crew, even her three little schnauzers. But no one could truly understanding the experience attached to the word “cancer.”
That all changed in October 2009, in the very moments following Chris’s double mastectomy and reconstruction procedure performed at Northside Hospital.
“I’ll never forget waking up in the hospital bed, still aching from the surgery to find that little stuffed lion by my side,” she recalled. “It may sound foolish, but when I realized what it was, it meant everything to me.”
The stuffed lion was part of a package delivered to Chris by a member of the Patient and Caregiver Support team at Northside Hospital’s Network of Hope (NoH). The group began in 1998 as a small gathering of cancer survivors who would meet to discuss their diagnosis, share concerns and answer questions about their experiences. The informal meetings grew and eventually led to the formal creation of NoH through Northside Hospital’s Auxiliary program.
Chris decided to join as part of her healing, as she was determined to pay to forward.
“It was an opportunity to actually connect and relate with women who knew exactly what I was going through. Suddenly, I wasn’t ‘alone’ anymore.”
And nine years later, she is still one of its biggest supporters, now serving as a member the Auxiliary Board, coordinating group events and meetings with other survivors.
As Chris approaches her 9th anniversary of being cancer free, she continues to connect with people embarking on their journey to fight cancer.
To learn more about the Network of Hope, visit here.
*The health story shared here may portray atypical results of survival for this type of cancer, given its severity and stage. Atypical results are considered surviving a cancer that has less than a 50 percent five-year survival rate. Patients should consult an expert to discuss specific treatment plans and the possible outcomes before making medical decisions.