Bridgeport cancer survivor to appear on ‘Today’
Published 5:46 pm, Tuesday, October 3, 2017
When Dahlia Clarke Hanshaw, 39, showed up for a chemotherapy appointment last month, she wasn’t exactly camera ready.
The Bridgeport resident, employed at a Norwalk Wendy’s, had worked late and not gotten much sleep.
“I was really tired,” she said.
She was doubly reluctant about going to the appointment at the Park Avenue Medical in Trumbull because she’d been told that someone might show up to interview her about her experience as a breast cancer survivor.
Then Hanshaw showed up and found out that a production crew from NBC’s “Today” show was coming to speak to her.
That was more than the “little interview” she had been expecting, but she was willing to talk about her treatment and about the help she’d received from the Bridgeport Hospital-based Norma Pfriem Breast Center.
Hanshaw thought the interview was for a segment about the center, which provides nearly 1,000 uninsured and under insured women with financial assistance for patient care services.
But the segment was a really about her. A few weeks after the medical center interview, “Today” host Hoda Kotb and others surprised Hanshaw at work and told her she was one of a handful of breast cancer patients nationwide to receive a “Pink Surprise” gift package.
She’ll be featured in a piece on Thursday’s “Today” — airing between 8:15 and 8:45 a.m. — designed to promote Breast Cancer Awareness Month, taking place now.
The whole experience has floored Hanshaw.
“I still haven’t grasped it,” she said. “I feel beyond blessed.”
Hanshaw was diagnosed with breast cancer in April, not long after feeling a lump in her breast. She said she’s doing well, thanks to her family and the support she’s receiving from the breast center.
Breast center executive director Donna Twist said Hanshaw is an excellent choice to honor.
“Anyone of our patients has a story to tell,” Twist said. “But she is particularly loving and effusive. Everyone here thinks she’s a special person.”