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The Woman Next Door is a Survivor: Yamile Luna

This month, in partnership with AdventHealth for Women, we’re recognizing some of the women in our community who are survivors of breast cancer, who have had a recurrence, or who are currently going through treatment. To us, all of these women are survivors in their own right. It is the hope of these women that by telling their stories they inspire and educate other women who are facing a breast cancer diagnosis.

Yamile Luna lost her long, beautiful hair, eyebrows and eyelashes due to her cancer treatment. A deeply spiritual woman, she says it took losing those things to truly understand the beauty of her soul, and it was her husband Maxi who she’s known since she was 13, who helped her see it.

“He asked if he could take a picture of me when I was bald and at first I felt so ashamed to be seen like that. Then when I saw how he was looking at me, with such love, I finally got it,” she says “I’m not my hair, my eyebrows, my eyelashes. I am a child of God.”

As the vice president of AdventHealth’s (then Florida Hospital) Orlando campus cancer institute, Luna made decisions that would eventually impact her treatment long before she was even diagnosed. “I helped recruit the physician who would end up being my doctor. I was part of the team that made the decision to have a breast cancer coordinator, something that was new at the time,” she says “I don’t believe in coincidences. I believe all of these things are just examples of God’s divine plan for me,” Luna says.

When Luna was first going through treatment there were times when she would come home from work exhausted. Then she finally came to the conclusion that while working was her passion, she wanted to give her family her good hours rather than what was left at the end of the day. So, she took a leave of absence.

Luna says “being transparent” has given her the ability to openly share her experience with others through public speaking engagements and interviews. The thing she hopes to impart to others dealing with cancer is this: “Every day is a gift. Live life now. Don’t wait.” Luna isn’t waiting. She’s planning her bi-annual international trip with family. Destination: Africa.

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Written by Tarre Beach

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