Nine-time Grammy Award-winner, activist, mother, friend, and breast cancer-survivor Sheryl Crow is the living definition of the word “hero.” This 47-year-old singer/songwriter credits her mother with inspiring her to make a difference: “My mom was very involved, very philanthropic, and she raised us that way. Throughout our schooling, we were involved in cause-driven activities.” Her mother lost several close girlfriends to breast cancer, giving Sheryl a heightened awareness of the disease from an early age.
Sheryl received her diagnosis after a routine mammogram in 2006. “I’ve always been someone who could set my mind to it, and get it done, and there’s a lot of control in that. Then, all of a sudden, to have somebody tell you have cancer….It does show you your fragility.” After a lumpectomy and seven weeks of radiation, Sheryl was cancer-free.
Not surprisingly, Sheryl is often approached by women on the street and in airports – but these days, those women aren’t just fans; they’re fellow-breast cancer survivors who feel an instant kinship with Sheryl for sharing her story. “Women in the breast cancer community are amazingly strong. They seem to find each other, and there’s a common language between survivors.”
Like many women dealing with breast cancer, exercise and meditation were key coping mechanisms for Sheryl on her path to recovery. “I ran during my radiation, mainly to keep myself connected to the life I’ve always known. Exercise burns off negativity, frustration, anger.” She also finds balance in meditation: She says that 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes at night has helped her quiet her mind, relax, and rejuvenate.
For Sheryl, cancer’s greatest lesson was the importance of self-love. “It forces you to show up for yourself and be there for yourself. You have to find your own strength. It informs you about what you’re made of, and ultimately how you’re going to live the rest of your life.”
Find more of Sheryl’s story – and several other Breast Cancer Heroes – on our DVD, Breast Cancer: The Path of Wellness & Healing.