PITTSBURGH — Our friend and colleague, Cara Sapida, might not have been on your television screen for the past eight months, but she’s been in our hearts.
Cara continues to inspire all of us with her grace, courage and hope on her breast cancer journey. She invited us to her home to share with us all the love and support she’s gotten while she’s been off the air since June.
“The love from Pittsburgh was instant,” Cara told us while showing us all the cards, quilts and gifts she received from friends, family and viewers.
But the most love came from her two young kids, Greyson and Lilah. They’re who she fought breast cancer for and won.
“They were everything. We just had all this uninterrupted, quality time together, even when I was sick,” Cara said.
Greyson and Lilah were her first thoughts when she discovered a lump in her breast in June 2020.
“I just looked at everyone in the room and I was like, ‘This can’t be. I have little kids at home.’”
Cara’s diagnosis was triple negative breast cancer, a very aggressive form of breast cancer. She went from no tumor during a mammogram in October 2019 to one that nearly doubled in size in just a few weeks last summer.
At that moment, Cara said she had to make a choice: either go silent on TV and from social media for months or share her journey.
“Why would God give a news reporter breast cancer if she wasn’t meant to spread awareness and use this little platform I have to try and make a difference?”
So Cara shared the news of her breast cancer in her first post on June 30.
“Thousands of people saying they were praying for me,” Cara recalls. “And then I opened messages and it was like, ‘I scheduled my mammogram. I called my doctor.’”
And with those messages, she knew that was her purpose: to help other women on the same journey. She vowed to keep sharing.
“Saying each week, OK, this week I’m going to share my bald head,” Cara said. “This week I’m going to share the story of how I did it.”
With strength, she rang the bell on her last day of chemo in December and underwent a double mastectomy in early January.
A week later, Cara got a call from her surgeon, “‘You had a complete response to chemo. You are cancer free.’” Cara said, as she recalls the tears running down her face. “I ran downstairs to tell the kids!”
“I was actually going to jump up and give her the giant, humongous, biggest hug of all time,” said her five-year-old son, Greyson.
In addition to all the pictures with her kids in many of the posts, you might have noticed the #FightLikeAMother hashtag.
It has become her mantra and the cornerstone of a poem she wrote “Oh, The Places You’ll Go Fighting Cancer.”
It’s beautifully written and you can read it below.
But Cara points out in the poem and during our interview that breast cancer is not pretty. “(It) is so ugly. It is not pink ribbons.”
And she’s documenting that part of the journey as well in a book she’s writing for women diagnosed with breast cancer.
“You’re going to have days that you’re not strong and that is okay,” said Cara.
But the book, which she says is a chemo companion, will also offer women so much hope.
“I want you to know you’re going to get a treatment plan,” Cara said. “You’re going to get the best medical care and you’re going to be strong for your children.”
Beautiful words from the strongest mother we know.
Cox Media Group