|Bridget Ford Hughes, 46: Four-Year Breast Cancer Survivor|
What I learned: We all need a community
"After a double mastectomy and breast reconstruction for stage II-B cancer, I had trouble getting out of bed because I was so sore. It was months before I could lift my arms above my head. Since I'm a trained massage therapist and a Pilates and yoga instructor, I wound up rehabbing myself. I tuned in to my body to see what types of stretches felt right and sketched on a pad during chemo to relax my mind.
"One day, it hit me: I could do this for other women like me. Two years later, I founded the Pastures, a studio retreat where cancer patients and survivors can enjoy yoga, Pilates, dance, art therapy, and healthy cooking.
Having breast cancer gave me a sense of purpose and showed me that the more I give of myself, the richer my life becomes. Plus, being around these women inspires me; they're a daily reminder that I, too, can live a full and happy life after overcoming this breast cancer."
More inspiring women:
SHAPE's Women Who Shape the World: Meet the Top 8 Women Who Care
Breast Cancer Awareness: Celebrity Breast Cancer Survivors
Where are They Now? Total Health Makeovers, 6 Months Later