FINDLAY, OH (WTOL) - The year was 2001.
Sue Boyce was a single mother of two girls, working relentlessly and endlessly to provide for their every need.
They were both counting on Sue, when their lives were altered forever.
"I actually found a lump myself," Sue said. "I was doing self breast exams and never had a mammogram. I was 41. So I called and made an appointment to do one. February 4 was the day he called me back in and said it was cancer, stage two."
Sue had just received devastating news. Like most mothers, her thoughts were not on herself, but on her daughters, who were just 18 and 11 at the time.
At first, she told no one and began her battle alone.
"I was very nervous and very scared about it. I'm very private, so no one in my family even knew that I was starting this process," said Sue.
But the time came to let the girls know their rock wasn't so solid after all.
"Her first question was, 'are you gonna die?' No I'm not. That was my thinking. I'm not," said Sue. "I think you've always got that fear in there, that, 'what if?' You know, I'm a single parent of two kids, so I'm like, I'm not gonna die, but sure it's in the back of your mind. No parent wants to have that feeling, but it's there."
Her daughter Nikki was just beginning the most exciting time in a young person's life.
A freshman at the University of Toledo, she says her mother's diagnosis was terrifying and prompted her to move to the University of Findlay for her studies.
"I think at 18, it altered my life forever, that fear of losing her," said Nikki. "I went to the worst place. It was scary to have one parent, and I think before surgery the doctors told her there was a 60 to 65 percent curing rate. Which I guess is good, but to me that wasn't good enough, not when you're talking
about your mom."
The girls watched their mother, their hero and champion, in the battle for her life.
"My mom, she wouldn't tell you this, but she's the strongest person ever," said Nikki. "She would go to her chemo. It was Friday afternoons and she would be sick. She'd go back to work on Monday. Her battle is very much what I picture all across America. The fact that she was a young mom and she was working through it. She didn't have the option to lay down and be sick all week. She had to fight through it and I think that's inspirational and I think it's what everybody goes through when they battle this."
Sue had chemo, a lumpectomy and radiation and is now cancer free.
All these years later, she's a grandmother.
"My greatest fear is that it would come back as another form and that I won't be here to watch the grandkids grow up, so I want to be here for graduations and weddings," Sue said.
The women are walking in this year's Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure to make sure other survivors can experience life, and even a cure.
This time, in celebration of Sue.
"I was kind of shocked, it was out of my box," she said. "I keep things to myself, so this was kind of new for me to have all these, you know, all these eyes on me all the sudden. I feel honored with it. I kind of look at myself and think I really didn't do anything special. I went through it, but I beat it. It's those families who lost somebody who didn't. What are they going through and that person who battled it and didn't survive? Those are the people we need to think about."