Use Your Journey to Guide Others – Episode 135

Use Your Journey to Guide Others

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Featuring: Mary Fanning

Published: October 27, 2018

Breast cancer survivor Mary Fanning joins the hosts of Health, Hope & Inspiration to talk about her cancer journey and how it led to a unique ministry opportunity that would enable her to reach out to patients from all over the world. Fanning also talks about how her treatment and encounters with staff at CTCA inspired her to want to “pay it forward” to others who were in the same situation.

Show Notes:

Mary Fanning is a busy woman. Working in the Guest Services department, as well as a New Patient Liaison at CTCA Philadelphia, requires a certain individual who possesses a wealth of care and compassion. A breast cancer survivor herself, Fanning knows just what patients need when they arrive. “When people come to the center we help them find where they’re going, print their schedules, just make them feel comfortable. When people come for their evaluation, I go over the schedule with everyone, try to give them a little tour of the hospital, just try to make everyone feel comfortable. I think it helps that I am a cancer survivor, because I know exactly how frightening it is to be diagnosed with cancer, and the patients that come here a lot of times are really far away.”

Fanning says that she expected to get breast cancer. “I always thought I would get breast cancer, because my mother had breast cancer.” But even with the expectation of a diagnosis, she expressed concern for the impact it would have on her loved ones, particularly her husband and children. “I have three children. So, it was very scary in that sense, that I was going to leave my children without a mother. And what would my husband do?” In response, Fanning turned to her faith in God. “I was always praying, ‘Please, God, help me be strong. Help me not to show how upset I am in front of my children.’” Fanning said her turning point was an encounter with a nurse who was administering her PET scan. “She said, ‘I don’t share this with everyone, but I’m an eight-year survivor of breast cancer. You’re going to be fine.’”


  • “You can’t live your life thinking, ‘I’m going to get cancer.’ You just have to have faith. And it’s hard sometimes, because you just are so worried. But if you just try to tell yourself, ‘Live one day at a time and do the best you can,’ with God’s help, you’ll get through anything.”
  • “When I tell the patients that ‘I’m a survivor. I know you’re scared. I know exactly how you feel,’ they feel at ease, because they understand that I understand how they feel, and there’s someone they could talk to about their fears.”
  • “I feel like this is a dream job in that I always loved helping people, even before my cancer and reaching out to people who needed help. I feel like this is a calling. God’s work.”


CLICK HERE to download this week’s resource: “7 Things You Should Know About Cancer


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