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'With grace and dignity:' Local breast cancer survivor inspires others with her story of triumph

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Posted at 4:56 AM, Apr 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-01 07:01:00-04

TAMPA, Fla. — Shannon Gunn doesn’t just practice healthy living — she has several degrees in it.

“I was healthy as I could be, being a trainer, I don’t smoke, I don’t drink,” said Gunn.

That's why she thought her doctor had the wrong patient information when she has diagnosed with breast cancer less than a year ago.

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“That is the million-dollar mystery that we do not fully understand,” explained Gunn’s oncologist Dr. Vik Mahotra.

Gunn followed Dr. Mahotra’s initial treatment plan of having a double mastectomy.

“Did the mastectomy and they took out eight lymph nodes and there was cancer in all eight lymph nodes,” explained Gunn.

Following the mastectomy, she underwent five months of chemotherapy.

“I have three beautiful kids, 16, 11, and 6, and a wonderful husband so I had to stay positive keep the morale up for myself and my family,” said Gunn.

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Through everything, Gunn kept her eyes on two big goals — ringing a bell to signify the end of her chemo. But before that, she was determined to run in the Skyway 10K race. So, on March 6, alongside her best friend Amy, she completed the race.

“It was 6.3 miles, but I felt like I ran a marathon when I finished, but I finished it,” said Shannon.

“She’s a very inspirational and unique person to me personally and it’s true when I’ve been on my stair climber and I say I can’t go no more, I say no I can, thanks to her,” explained Dr. Mahotra.

Less than two weeks after finishing the race, Gunn was able to ring a bell to signify the end of her chemo treatments.

“It’s the halfway mark for me, I still have radiation, surgeries. But to ring that chemo bell and do it with grace and dignity and my head held high, it was amazing to ring that bell,” said Gunn.

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Gunn’s next goal is to get back to teaching classes and working out. Then she's set to run a half marathon in November, the Space Coast Marathon in Cocoa Beach.