COLORADO SPRINGS — October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and local breast cancer patient Shawnee Starr is speaking up to raise awareness.

During a routine doctor’s visit for an unrelated issue, she inquired about a crease of her breast that didn’t look normal.

Her doctor advised her to get a mammogram – and was soon diagnosed with breast cancer.

When she first found out, she was overwhelmed.

“Emotionally, it was, a whole range of emotions, I don’t want to die, who is going to be a mother to my kids?” said Starr.

Shawnee had lumpectomy surgery in May and recently finished radiation.

“It was hard, it was just really overwhelming, I had my fair share of crying, and ‘Why me?’ and those sorts of questions, but you know, I can only do that for so long,” she said.

Almost immediately, Shawnee started making changes in her own life – from eating organic to detoxing and making healthy decisions to help herself heal – from the inside out.

“The very first day I got diagnosed with cancer, I started drinking filtered water, and I think within 24 hours, it was everything organic, no hormones in the meat. I felt helpless. And that was something I could do,” she said.

Shawnee encourages anyone who has cancer, or any disease, to take care of your mind and body first and foremost – and to be your own advocate.

“She is incredibly positive, which goes such a long way when you’re enduring any type of battle. She comes up to a situation, and she’s like ‘OK, I’m going to tackle this!'” said friend, Karen Svarverud.

Shawnee encourages women that if something doesn’t feel right, to get it checked out – just to be safe.

“Learn from those of us that had had the opportunity to do the research, and take the time, and feel good!” said Starr.

Visit Komen Colorado for more resources on breast cancer and events in your area.

For the statewide breast cancer hotline, call 303-744-2088 and press 2 for real-time support from the Susan G. Komen resource team for anyone seeking resources to meet their breast health needs. They can help with important resources like screening and diagnostics, and care partners across the state.