Karen Franklin

First there was shock, then fear and finally confusion. When Karen Franklin found a cancerous lump on her breast in 2010, she experienced the full range of emotions – sometimes all at once.

“Once I got over the initial shock, I was able to approach my disease with a positive outlook,” said Karen, who endured a mastectomy and 16 rounds of chemotherapy. 

As one friend noted, “Karen never asked, ‘Why me?’ She never complained about the pain and fatigue after her surgery. She’s been an amazing inspiration to many people.”

A physical fitness instructor, Karen believes it was her conditioning that enabled her to withstand the grueling surgery and treatment, and the breast reconstructive surgery she’s dealing with today.

In spite of everything, she still teaches Pilates and Zumba, a fast-paced dance exercise program that uses Latin and other global music. Once a Spanish teacher and assistant principal, she continues her work as an educational consultant. She also saves plenty of quality time for her 11-year-old son.

In the future, Karen wants to use her experience and positive spirit to inspire and support other cancer patients.

“I have faith in God and a lot of energy. I want to make a difference to others who are experiencing what I went through,” she said. “I also want other women to understand the importance of self exams and mammograms. They save lives.”