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Name: Allison W. Gryphon

Diagnosed At Age: 38

Status: There is currently no evidence of disease in my body.

Bio: Allison W. Gryphon is a novelist, filmmaker and breast cancer fighter with a passion for story and an undying appetite for living life to the fullest.

On April 13th, 2011, Allison was diagnosed with stage IIIa breast cancer. Everything came to a halt, but only for a moment. Allison took a deep breath, then decided to fight. The first thing she did was look for a movie that would give her an understanding of what she was facing in terms of her cancer battle both physically and emotionally. The movie didn’t exist. She couldn’t believe it. So she decided to make it. Having been a part of the Hollywood community for many years, Allison sent out the call for help, and the response was both overwhelming and beautiful. With absolutely no money to be had, many of Hollywood’s most talented stepped up to the plate and offered her their talents, their services, their time and their hearts. For the most part, Allison paid them with cookies. The result is Allison’s directorial debut, the recently completed feature documentary What the [email protected]#- is Cancer and Why Does Everybody Have it?

On set Interviewing S Lagree copy

In association with the feature film, a collection of personal stories and programs focusing on specific cancers, treatments and experiences will be released through a series of DVDs entitled “The What? Series”. Allison is currently working to make getting through the day-to-day of fighting cancer easier for people through her newly created The Why? Foundation, and paired with designer Piper Gore she is behind The Fighter T for Breast Cancer Fighters.

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My reaction when I was first diagnosed: For me being diagnosed was validation. I’d found the lump myself and I just knew. That being said, actually hearing the diagnosis was an out of body experience. With one sentence I lost control over my entire being. For about a half hour I was numb and in shock, then after I had the opportunity to catch my breath, I went into go mode. I wanted to do whatever I needed to do to get the cancer out of my body as soon as possible in the most effective way possible.

Allison W Gryphon Radiation Planning and Tattoo Day copy

How I’m feeling now: I feel great. I’m healthier than ever. I still have my adjustment moments of getting used to the new me. The treatment and reconstruction really changed my appearance. I went from being a slender, blonde pixi to being a curvy brunette and with that my whole style has had to be adjusted. In the beginning it was very difficult, but now I’m settling in.

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My inspirations: People inspire me. The sunrise inspires me. The scent of a flower or a fresh brewed cup of coffee. I have always known that life is beautiful, but it was with the cancer diagnosis that I truly began living a life where I feel and see the beauty and inspiration in everything around me all the time.

My support system: I had and still have an amazing support system. Fighting cancer is a team effort. You need help and people want to help you. I had a massive network beside me every step of the way. From the friends who took care of me after surgery to strangers in the grocery stores who stepped in to help me to my car and wish me well, to an incredible team at work who always had words of encouragement combined with help in the day-to-day of getting through cancer treatment. Every time I think about it, the goodness of people I was able to experience brings tears to my eyes.
AWG in THE FIGHTER T copy
I’m proud of: The spirit and love of people. My cancer diagnosis made so many people around me shine. I’m incredibly proud to have such amazing people in my life and to have encountered so many good people, who I didn’t know, but who offered hope and encouragement.

I’m afraid of: Nothing.

I’ve learned: What is important and what isn’t important.
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My advice to new patients: Don’t put unrealistic pressure on yourself. Be selfish. Go day-by-day, hour-by-hour, minute by minute. Accept help. Ask questions. Be proactive and work with your medical professionals rather than expecting them to do everything. Embrace the fact that you have cancer and then go kick it’s ass.

To see more of our 31 Survivors in 31 Days stories, click here!