Everyone has bad days. Sometimes we need a boost of inspiration to get us through to tomorrow, or next week, or next year.

For those living with and fighting to survive a cancer diagnosis, even small things begin to feel magnified into the apex of adversity. We’ve selected five quotes to empower women fighting and surviving cancer. They are pearls of wisdom and kernels of truth, designed to carry you through and hone the strength within for the next hurdle.


Using Ambrose Redmoon as a pseudonym, James Neil Hollingworth succumbed to cancer at the age of 62, but not before living an incredible life of truth-seeking and fighting for equal rights. “He was a really serious warrior,” his daughter Wekaya said of him in an interview with the Chicago Tribune. “Any battle worth fighting, he was there.” Though that excerpt is the most widely circulated part of his quote, the rest is equally important: “The timid presume it is lack of fear that allows the brave to act when the timid do not.”


How much untapped strength and bravery do we really have within us? Ironically, why are some of us so scared to find out just how brave we really are? Discovering your bravery is one of the most exhilarating gifts in life. If you have the strength, fight. If you fight, regardless of the outcome, you end up with courage you didn’t already have.


I would paraphrase this with another quote I recently found at a friend’s house: “A woman is like a tea bag — you don’t know how strong she is until you put her in hot water.” If a cancer diagnosis is your hot water, discover the complexity of your strength. Let it really sit in the hot water, and allow the full richness of your bravery to be displayed.


This is for all you quiet warriors out there. Mary Anne Radmacher also said: “Begin each day as if it were on purpose.” With the initial disruption and chaos that comes with a cancer diagnosis, it’s easy to forget how to create a quiet space in which to start building resolve. Sometimes courage comes from peaceful contemplation.


Our friends at HuffPost agree: laughter is still the best day-to-day medicine. It relieves stress, relieves pain, and boosts your immune system. Remember to let your sense of humor see the light. Remember what makes you laugh and why. Doctor’s orders.