"The surgeon advised me to cut off my breast but I did not want that at all, I did research about recovery and I knew it wasn't for me," said Jean Weirich Wiggil.
The happy-go-lucky dance teacher was diagnosed with breast cancer ten years ago. Jean, a mother of two and ballet instructor from Durban North and her husband immediately sought after medical care. Wiggil says she did not want to use conventional cancer treatment because she had seen some of her friends go down that road and knew from the get-go that she would choose a different path.
"I was teaching a class at the time and I'll never forget I had to tell my students. There were three of them and one burst into tears. She told me: 'You know, I knew a lady who had cancer and she said she was going to die and she did'. I told her that's not going to be me and I'm still here," says Jean.
Her courage and determination during her battle with cancer helped keep Jean healthy and active. She still managed to wake up each day and do the thing she loved since she was a six-year-old girl - dance.
"Coping with everything at first was very difficult, but listening to music helped me a lot. I would find a place to be alone and listen to "Secret Garden" and it was a fat excuse to have a nice cry," said the 55-year-old.
Jean emphasises how important it is to find and do something you love during difficult times. Having a passion for something can take away your attention from the negative and focus it onto the positive, she says.
* This story is part of the SAPA+ #Inspire series.