24-Year-Old Breast Cancer Survivor Hopes To Inspire Others - FOX 10 News | myfoxphoenix.com

24-Year-Old Breast Cancer Survivor Hopes To Inspire Others

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PHILADELPHIA -

The 24th Komen Philadelphia Race for the Cure is set to take place on Mother's Day along the Ben Franklin Parkway.

One of the event's youngest co-chairs is Charnise Gillis.

She is a 10-year survivor after being diagnosed with the disease at 14.

Gillis says she noticed a lump in her left breast, but didn’t think much of it, until it started to grow.

"They did a lot of tests on me, this was the last thing that they thought it could be," Gillis said.

A student at George Washington High, Gillis says the diagnosis was overwhelming.

She felt embarrassed and told very few people.

"I felt like I didn't fit in. I was already trying to find my identity at the time since I was so young," she said.

Charnise had to have a full mastectomy.

"I feel like a lot of my childhood, I missed out on, certain things I wanted to do.” she said. “I really couldn't be the teen that I really wanted to be. I feel like I was forced to grow up at a very young age."

Now, she says she is all the stronger for her cancer struggles.

Today, she is a pharmacy technician, and is taking classes at Temple University.

This brave 24-year-old wants to share her story with other teens who have breast cancer.

Her message: never feel afraid and always have hope.

"I hope I actually inspire someone today to have the courage to speak up about this awareness because it is so important," she said.

This will be Gillis' first time taking part in the race.

The co-chairs of this year's event are all survivors and all under the age of 35.

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