Meet the 2022 Paint the Town Pink Ambassador: Cheryl Constancio

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(ABC 6 News) – The 2022 Paint the Town Pink ambassador is Austin native Cheryl Constancio.

Constancio was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer in 2009.

"I was very very fortunate not to get sick physically. Mentally it kind of takes a toll on you because you wonder ‘Oh gosh, why did this happen?" Constancio said.

After over a year of grueling treatments, she no longer is battling cancer but is now a survivor.

"I have a strong faith in God, I had a good attitude towards everything and I had a wonderful support system through family and friends that I totally believe got me through everything that I was going through," she said.

Constancio and her husband, Tom, have been married for 38 years. They have three kids, nine grandkids, three great-grandkids and another great-grandkid on the way. that’s just part of her support system.

Constancio had a head-shaving party during her treatment.

"And when I got home from that, I walked into the house and my husband went and shaved his head. And I just thought ‘Oh wow. I mean, what a fantastic support system,’" she said.

While she was going through treatment, she wanted to keep her life as normal as possible.

"I only missed two days of work and everybody was really kind of surprised at that," Constancio said.

But sometimes she reflects back to that doctor appointment in 2009.

"And then reality sunk in and of course, my eyes started getting all teary-eyed. But, you know what, once I started the journey it was like ‘Okay, let’s keep doing this, let’s do this, I got it, we’re going to get through this’ and I did," she said.

"The ambassadorship is so important to us because it shows the human side of what we do. These are the people that are impacted the most by cancer," Dr. Robert Clarke, Executive Director at The Hormel Institute in Austin, said.

Constancio said everybody’s story is different. Everybody goes through the process of cancer differently, both physically and mentally.

Constancio’s advice for others who are fighting is "No matter how you’re getting through it, keep going. Don’t throw in the towel and believe that everything is going to be fine."

"Something like this just changes your life. You have a different outlook on everything. Life is precious. Live it to the fullest because you don’t know when that diagnosis is going to come up and it changes your life," she said.