Find Joy, Despite the Battle

Ellen is a naturally positive person. Even so much so that she radiates it both through her smile and her bright purple hair. When she got the news from Dr. Otto here at Moffitt that she had metastatic squamous neck cancer it hit her hard. She underwent treatment for stage 4 cancer where she describes that she was “...in for a bit of an uphill battle.” More biopsies revealed the darker news that she also had thyroid cancer. The life-saving treatments which increased in intensity and included chemotherapy, radiation and neck dissection surgery. She and her husband held each other a little tighter to make it through the battle. View the story.

Her Valentine, Her Rock

Her husband Matt, is a cancer survivor of 40 years. Diagnosis day shock riddled them both. She remembers being in the parking lot and, "He started getting a little upset. I just hugged him. I said, "Honey. We got this. We're going to do it. We're going to be okay." He gave her the courage to go through the treatments and healing process. She considers herself lucky to have "{my} man by my side through this whole thing, who had been through something similar," said Ellen. 

Purple Power

On August 4, 2015, Ellen received the news from her doctor that she was cancer free. Ellen remembers it very well, even down to Dr. Otto's streak of purple in her hair. So, Ellen decided to mark the day in her honor by taking it to the next level and going all purple. She wears it so well and does it for that reason, “Because I can. I’m alive and I can.” She isn't afraid to tell anyone who asks the "why" about her purple locks. 

Spreading Joy

It feels good to be around people who radiate joy. Joy is intoxicating, it makes you want to be joyful too and share it. This describes Ellen so well who says that life is about finding your own source of joy. People find it in different ways...I find it through life and smiling and being positive, and love.” Now, a survivor, she's back to doing what she loves; golf, shopping and wine. Most importantly, she loves to make people smile and seeing others enjoy life.

Do you or someone you know have questions about cancer? Call 1-888-663-3488 or complete a patient registration form online. No referrals are required.