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From Stage IV to Center Stage is a story of extraordinary courage, strength, and deep spirituality. Denise DeSimone’s journey began the moment she opened her eyes in a post-op ward after a “routine” biopsy to determine the pathology of the lump on her neck and was told, “You have cancer. A very aggressive cancer in your throat and neck, and you need to move on this immediately.”

Given three months to live because of stage IV throat and neck cancer (August 2005), to singing the National Anthem before a Red Sox game at Fenway Park in Boston (July 2007), to riding her bicycle eighty-five miles in one day to raise money for children’s cancer research with the Pan Mass Challenge (August 2007) all in less than two years is proof that the unexpected can be achieved.

Denise approached cancer differently than most people do. She chose not to “battle,” cancer; she chose to embrace it and allow it to become her teacher and her sage. Naming her cancer PIN—an acronym for Pain in the Neck, Denise entered into a dialogue with PIN, gave it a pen, and gave it permission to teach her the lessons she needed to learn. The lessons were rich and enlightening. She learned something deeply critical to healing: self-love. When we love ourselves, we don’t want to battle anything. When we love ourselves, we allow our vibration to attract life at a higher frequency: a frequency that promotes healing on all levels—emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually. Denise learned that self love is the all-time greatest healer.

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