By Ukee Washington

PHILADELPHIA (CBS)—This Sunday, tens of thousands of people will come out to run, walk and race for a cure for breast cancer.

For many, it’s a celebration, a victory over cancer.

For one family, it’s a celebration of a life. The life of a vibrant woman, who fought for years and her fight continues to inspire!

A father and his sons, remembering mom, and g-mom! In 2000, Dawn Jones found a lump, it was Stage 3 inflammatory breast cancer.

“When she told me I wanted to kick the doors down,” said Dawn’s son, Michael Jones. “When they did her original mastectomy it was the size of a golf ball. When she came back 5 days later it was the size of a swollen grapefruit.”

Dawn was a warrior; she lived with Stage 4 breast cancer for 10 years. During that time she turned her “diagnosis” into a “decision,” not to let cancer win. She was a spokesperson for Cancer Treatment Centers of America. Her motto? “Live, love and walk sexy.”

Dawn’s favorite color was red. So one of her dear friends Phylis Brownley wears it quite often.

“When she had neuropathy it was very difficult for her to wear flat shoes so she said when she started to where heals it made her feel better,” said Brownley.

And she took it to a whole new level. She also put her heart and soul into working for, and participating in, the Race for the Cure.

“She was always at the top of the steps and she talked with everybody who came up to her because she was recognized,” Brownley says. “And she just helped them with their struggles.”

Chris Burke, the youngest of 2 sons, lives in New York with his wife and family. Via Skype he told our Ukee Washington how his mom kept herself and others strong.

“It’s not something you basically see. Physically, you can feel it through her energy,” he says.

The day after Christmas 2016 the sons had to find the energy to deal with a great loss, which posed for Michael an even greater question: “how do I tell my son?”

“I look at him, and I got tears coming down my eyes. I never said she passed away or anything like that, I said, ‘She’s not sick anymore, she beat it she won,’” said Jones. “Everybody, the greats eventually lose, but at the same time it’s not always losing, sometimes you gracefully bow out.”

“She fought a great great great battle but she was tired,” Jones adds.

But she woke up each day vowing not to fight cancer, but to live! Her relentless 17-year crusade to do so serves as inspiration for so many.

It’s a brand new day in the fight against cancer as better treatments, education, and positive results have taken us from the darkness–to Dawn.

 

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