The Story of A Courageous Woman: Emily's fight with Cancer Inspires All Woman to Never Lose Faith

Never before had the CW family looked forward to an event than last night's Fashion + Philanthropy Collide at the Aloft Hotel Domain in Austin.  Yes, it would be a great fun-filled fashion night, but most of all, by partnering with Stiletto Stampede, CW would have the great honor and privilege of helping bring awareness and fight breast cancer. But for us, there was just something more we felt we needed to do; something for a special someone that needed an extra touch.  An extra reminder that she, in the midst of her struggles, was worth the fight.  Beautiful inside and out.  Someone that demonstrated the essence of a Courageous Woman.

Thanks to Way of Life Travel, 1 brave Courageous Woman who is in the midst of her battle, has the opportunity to sneak away with her family for a 4 day/5 night vacation in Cancun forgetting, if just for a moment, the hustle and bustle of going to and fro from Dr. visit to Dr. visit.  Instead, Emily gets to enjoy time with her family who have loved and supported her throughout her journey.

Below is the story of Emily and her brave fight as depicted by Kristy Feland, Emily's amazing friend who took the time to tell Emily's story to the CW family.  We are truly inspired by Emily's Courageous Strength!

The Courageous Woman: Emily Sassenhagen

Emily married her best friend Joey Sassenhagen in the summer of 2007. She landed a job in an amazing hospital as she was entering her career as a registered nurse. Life was good and they had discussed starting a family soon. Little did they know that the following fall their lives would be forever changed. Emily was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 23. We all questioned why her? Why now? Why so young? Emily immediately began her treatments and her long road to fighting this evilness that was attacking her body. Emily began losing her hair and her family and friends gathered around for her head shaving party. I can honestly say, "I have never seen a more beautiful woman." She was always so positive on her outlook on life. Through her masectomy and her numerous surgeries, she put complete faith is God and knew that with love and support from family and friends that she would win this battle. This long, endearing battle stole Emily's fertility. A nightmare for most young women. However, this wasn't stopping her from wanting to be a mother. Emily and Joey began another very long journey, an adoption process. After 2 excruciating years of battling cancer and a longing for a child from God, Emily and Joey were able to adopt a sweet little boy whom they would call Gage. Emily, now a mother, continued her fight against the cancer.

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In the fall of 2011, Emily received amazing news from her doctor that she was in remission. We all felt a sense of relief and much happiness for this young family. As 2012 approached they wanted to add to their family. They starting the adoption process again. This time around they would be adopting a sweet baby girl that was to be born in February 2013. Baby showers were in full force by family and friends as they wanted to welcome this second child from God into the life of Emily and Joey. The nursery was complete and the baby was to be named Charley Kate. Emily began having severe, frequent migraines and thought is was the stress of balancing work, Gage and preparing for Charley.

Emily received some very upsetting news in November of 2012. Her cancer had come back. This time around it was in her brain, her lungs and her breast bone. Again the questions. How? Why? She was being so closely monitored. Emily began seeing multiple doctors again so that there would be a treatment plan she could start immediately. She was once again positive, motivated and determined to kick cancer for the second time. She had Charley Kate on her mind and knew she wanted to get better before welcoming her daughter home. Emily and Joey received a call that Charley had been born. They rushed to the hospital and held this sweet, innocent gift from God in their hands and loved her the second they laid eyes on her. They spent the day loving on her and began sending multiple pictures to family and friends of their daughter. The following day, the birth mother was to sign over her rights and Charley would be headed home with Emily and Joey. That didn't happen. The birth mother refused and it absolutely crushed Emily and Joey. God had a plan though. God's plan was for Emily to take care of herself. Emily continued treatments and was slowly overcoming the cancer. I spoke with her last week and she said that the doctors found more spots on her brain. Today, Emily continues to fight for her life and has complete faith in our Lord that he will heal her.

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Through her journey, I have never seen a more positive, determined human being. She truly amazes and inspires me every single day. I would love nothing more for Emily and her husband to be able to "forget about cancer" and enjoy each other on this tranquil vacation as Emily does not know what her future will hold. The Sassenhagen's would forever be grateful.

I would also like to share this video that Emily's amazing church, Keystone, collaborated for her in supporting her through this difficult journey of cancer. 

Click Here for Video

Sincerely, Kristy Feland

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Emily, we honor you!  Have a great vacation in Cancun with your family.  You Deserve it!

Thanks Way of Life Travel for being so generous!  You have made a difference in Emily's life by helping creating memories of a lifetime!

The Moment Revealed

Photo Credit: Julie Fox

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Kristy Feland & Heather Frierson

Kristy finding out her friend, Emily, is the Courageous Woman

Telling Emily's storyReading Kristy's email about Emily

6Thanks for sharing Emily's story!  She is our family now too!