Breast cancer survivor calls herself a "warrior"

Walton spreads message of hope, strength through Zumba

Published  5:00 PM HST Aug 27, 2012
HONOLULU -

Diana Walton had always been the picture of health.  So, when she was told she had stage four breast cancer, she was shocked.

"Me?  I mean, I'm healthy.  I eat healthy; I work out everyday," said Walton.  "This doesn't run in my family.  How did I get cancer?"

The cancer had already attacked lymph nodes in her right arm by the time she was diagnosed in 2009.

"I had a lot of pain.  I was lifting weights at one time and I had a lot of pain under my arm," said Walton.  "I knew I had severe cancer when the doctor who gave me the diagnosis was crying."

Walton was 37 at the time, and as a wife and mother of two teenage boys, she went into warrior mode.

"God only gives this to warriors and that's what I consider myself.  A warrior," said Walton.  "I took it; I ran with it.  And there's nothing but blessings that have come with this."

A mastectomy followed by aggressive chemotherapy left her with no hair.  But, that didn't take away her pride and spirit.

"Oh yes, when I met her she had no hair," said Peri Faulks, Walton's friend and co-instructor.  "And all I could think was wow -- this woman has spunk."

Her spunk is what made her a popular Zumba instructor.  Walton teaches about 15 classes a week and her students affectionately call themselves her "fans."

"Whatever we may go through, it's nothing compared to what she's been through," said Faulks.  "And so it's a blessing to have her around."

The only time Walton took a break from dancing was for the six months after her surgery.

"While I'm dancing, I let the world know nothing stops me," said Walton.  "This is what I do and this is what you should do no matter how big your fears are."

Walton is nearly at the "all clear" point in her recovery, but says she's only begun spreading her message of hope and strength.

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