NewsSarasota, Manatee County


22-year-old three-time cancer survivor shares inspiring story one month after bilateral mastectomy

Posted at 9:19 PM, Oct 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-26 21:19:51-04

TAMPA, Fla. — Like many 14-year-olds, Bailey Rhodes enjoyed volleyball and cheerleading.

"I started having some knee pain and just assumed it was overuse. I was super active," said Rhodes.

But it wasn't overused. For the next several months, Rhodes fought and conquered bone cancer.

What she didn't know is that the fight had just begun.

At age 16, Rhodes overcame leukemia, which she says was caused by her bone cancer chemo.

Then at 22, she found a lump in her breast.

"It was breast cancer, and I thought it was crazy. I thought 20-year-old's don't get breast cancer," said Rhodes.

Just a month ago, Rhodes had a bilateral mastectomy, reconstruction surgery and is now cancer-free.

"My faith and having God on my side has always gotten me through things," said Rhodes.

Rhodes graduated from the University of Florida in May and is now studying to become a doctor.

"I tried to look at it like, ok, what can learn from all of this that's going to help me be a better doctor," said Rhodes.

This breast cancer awareness month, Rhodes is sharing her inspiring story with Healthy Kids at Moffitt, an informative health program for students.

"What's empowering is her resistance. Throughout the treatment, she still studied for the SATs. She's now working on her MCATs, and she's a pillar of an example that you can overcome any obstacle and come out shining," Nikki Inda, community relations coordinator for Moffitt Cancer Center.

Rhodes says cancer has just been a few bumps on her road to doing much bigger things.

"It's terrible that bad things happen, but we can't dwell on that. You just have to fight past it and just stay positive," said Rhodes.

For more information on Healthy Kids at Moffitt, click here.