Mary Kay Baker, director of Lehigh University Conference Services and a two-time Cancer Survivor, has been honored by the American Cancer Society. Her courage and strength in the fight against cancer is an inspiration to all, but the road was not easy.
"I thought I was a healthy person, I did some running, exercised, I didn't eat great but I thought I ate well and I just remember thinking, 'Why is this happening to me?'" said Baker.
Those thoughts were running through her mind in 2007, when she was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer, leading to surgery and six tough months of chemotherapy.Those were the thoughts run
"It was funny, they called me Murphy as in Murphy's Law. Anything that could go wrong with side effects of chemo I got it," said Baker.
She beat the disease, but just a few years later in 2010, she found herself having a conversation with a doctor that felt all too familiar. "I remember them telling me 'I can't believe I have to tell you this, it's just not right but looks like you have a second cancer, it's uterine cancer," said Baker.
But this wasn't Mary Kay's first rodeo, and she proved it, beating cancer a second time. It's a journey she says she couldn't have gotten through without her strong support system, starting with her daughter Lauren.
"We were close to begin with but this probably just added to the relationship in terms of I could just see in her eyes the fear and part of me was like 'I can't leave her,'" said Baker.
Since then, she's watched Lauren marry her best friend and have a baby of her own, things that at one point, she wasn't sure she'd get to see.
"All parents want is their children to be happy, when they're happy, you're happy. The joy I saw on her wedding day was like 'Yes she's happy and life is good' and I'm so grateful I got to see that," said Baker.
Mary Kay says her mother and Lehigh co-workers were also instrumental in helping her fight, as well as her partner of 17 years, Joe, who is also a cancer survivor.
"He was kind of the one who said, no weeping, no whining. You have to do this. You just have to do this, and be strong and you have to get through it," said Baker.
And that's what she did, now 61 and feeling healthier than ever. Her message to others? "You're stronger than you think you are."
"I had to tell my daughter that multiple times, I had to tell myself that multiple times but you just have to keep saying, when you think you can't, you can and when you think you're done you just keep going," said Baker.
See below or click here to see the recorded broadcast.