MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Weekend warriors are hoping to change the game in the fight against cancer with the annual Dolphins Challenge Cancer cycling event taking place this weekend.
It's an event that is near and dear to former Miami Dolphins cheerleader and current cheer manager Johanna Torres who is a cancer survivor. She was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago and is now reuniting with the doctor that saved her.
"She's a cheerleader. When she comes to the clinic she is my inspiration, someone I want to do everything for her so she can live a perfect life" said Dr. Carmen Calfa with Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.
In September of 2020, Johanna Torres says she detected something in her body that wasn't right.
"I went to just get a mammogram first, after I felt what was like a lump, and I felt something that was uncomfortable and didn't feel normal," explained Torres.
She underwent her mammogram, ultrasound, and biopsy, and soon after received the dreaded call.
"As you can imagine, it came as a shock because here I am as a fitness enthusiast, I'm young no family history, it came as a shock especially during the pandemic to add on top of that," recalled Torres.
Torres was diagnosed with stage one breast cancer and it that was when Dr. Carmen Calfa came into her life.
"Breast cancer affects one and every eight women in a lifetime, but some are at higher risk than others, so at a younger age and understanding those risks factors put you in a position where you can actually be proactive than reactive," explained Dr. Calfa.
That's exactly what Johanna did. She fought her disease head on. And after a year of treatment, she had a full circle moment when she rang the bell at the Dolphins Challenge Cancer, an initiative to support the lives of those impacted by cancer in partnership with the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.
"I was still being treated at the time. I was recovering from my surgeries and treatments and everything so being able to go to the DCC still not feeling 100% but trying to be able to run the 5K last year and then see Dr. Calfa there and ring the bell with friends and loved ones and Dr. Calfa something I would never forget I still get emotional thinking about it. It was a special moment," said Torres.
Now, she is looking forward to doing it all over again at this year's DCC as a survivor.
"I think that breast cancer didn't happen to me, but it happened through me for a purpose. A purpose that I hope to inspire others through their journey and being able to be a part of the DCC on the side. I know exactly what it is to be in your shoes, and I want to be able to walk with you and with Dr. Calfa and for others that is something I'm truly excited about that I look forward to being a part of for years to come," said Torres.
Torres continues her recovery and is excited to participate in her third DCC on February 26 at Hard Rock Stadium.
One hundred percent of participant-raised funds goes to life-saving cancer research at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and all donations are tax-deductible.
To date, the DCC's annual event has raised more than $45.5 million for Sylvester.
If you'd like to donate, click here.
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