(NEW YORK) — Even before her stage two breast cancer diagnosis in 2020, Yvonne Llanes knew her strength — and her community.
Llanes, who was first introduced to “World News Tonight” in 2017, had lost both of her legs nearly 16 years ago in a freak accident. For a decade, Llanes was confined to a wheelchair.
But, in 2017, she had made a promise to herself — and her late father — to walk again.
“I was just depressed. I was sad. I was mad at the world and I wanted my life back. I wanted my legs back,” Llanes told “World News Tonight” in 2017.
Llanes found a community at the Hanger Clinic’s Bilateral-Above-Knee Amputee Bootcamp.
With the support of fellow amputees and after months of determination, Llanes pushed herself to get out of her chair and walk across a stage in front of her friends and family.
“I met a group of amputees such as myself that were doing extraordinary things. They were up and they were walking and they were out of their wheelchairs and I was just incredibly amazed and I told myself I want to be like them,” said Llanes.
“I decided enough was enough I was going to get up and get on with life,” she added.
Nearly four years later, Llanes returned to the Hanger Clinic’s Bootcamp for Amputees to celebrate another victory. This time, to announce that she was cancer-free.
She was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer and underwent surgeries in 2020 and 2021. Across the country, her Bootcamp family was there for her by sending photos and wearing “Yvonne Strong” T-shirts.
“All my amputee friends here have stood behind me through this diagnosis and have been very supportive of me 100%, and I just appreciate it tremendously,” said Llanes on Thursday.
Llanes told “World News Tonight” Friday that the community’s motto, “Decide to rise,” can be applicable to anyone.
“Life is going to throw obstacles at you — do not let those obstacles get in your way,” she said. “Have faith, have courage, have hope, overcome those obstacles and never forget to decide to rise.”
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