November's Survivor of the Month: Tonjia Gladney

November's Survivor of the Month: Tonjia Gladney

CHESTER, SC (WBTV) - Forty-five-year-old Tonjia Gladney is a two-time breast cancer survivor, now fighting a third time because of a spot recently found on her liver.

She has been battling cancer for almost 17 years.

"I hope you can make her your November breast cancer survivor of the month," wrote her friend Leslie Fredell.   "Tonjia is the most pleasant, uplifting, genuine person in the world. She always sees the positive in every situation, while remaining humble."

Tonjia says her own motto is, "If you need a miracle, become a miracle to someone else."

Tonjia was a single mother who raised her three daughters in Charlotte.  She is now married but when first diagnosed in April of 1999, she raised her daughters Kenuetta, Blessing and her youngest daughter, named Miracle while fighting cancer.

"I named her Miracle because she is one," said Tonjia.  "I carried her for six months while going through chemotherapy.  It was my second time with breast cancer and I wasn't only fighting for me, I was also fighting for my baby."

She underwent a mastectomy, 6-months of chemo and 32 treatments of radiation.  She beat it.  All was fine until 2008.

That's when her breast cancer came back.  This time in her liver.  Then she was hospitalized for a week and had more chemo for five years.

"I went every Monday for five years to get my chemo," she said.  "I just pushed through."

In December of 2014, doctors found most spots in Tonjia's liver.  She started treatments in early January.  This time doctors are putting radiation beads directly on the spots on her liver and she had two very strong chemotherapy treatments in September.

"I've lost my hair three times," Tonjia said with a laugh, over the phone.  "But it's only hair."

Tonjia says her church the center of her family.  Always. She's an active member at The Eternal Rock Church in Chester, South Carolina.  (That's where she's from and where she has always gone to church.)

"I believe in God," she says.  "It's almost 17 years I've been fighting cancer.  I'm the oldest of fifteen kids and I'm still alive and working it."

When talking with Tonjia over the phone she kept wanting to give credit to everyone else.

"Can I tell you about my husband?" she asked.  "My husband, Jesse, just received his Purple Heart.  It took almost ten years. I'm proud of him. So in my household you're dealing with a Stage IV cancer and a Purple Heart recipient.  We're something else."

Her friends would agree.

"She lifts everyone up at our church," said Leslie.  "Whether she has just met them or known them a lifetime.  She truly is a beautiful soul."

Congrats to Tonjia and a sincere good luck from all of us here at WBTV.  Our thoughts are with you.  Keep up the positive attitude – it's working.  If Leslie's heartfelt nomination of you is any indication, you're inspiring others, too.

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