Former US Olympic Gymnast Opens Up About Her Struggles With Cancer

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BINGHAMTON, NY- Shannon Miller is one of the most decorated US female gymnasts, bringing home a lot of gold medals for Team USA, shares her inspiring health journey in a new marketing campaign with Ascension.

Miller is the only female athlete to be inducted into the US Olympic Hall of Fame, not once, but twice.

“Going into the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, my first Olympics, I had just turned 15 years old and had come off a very challenging elbow break and dislocation. I was kind of all but counted out, so to be able to make the team that year and walk into that arena wearing my Red, White and Blue uniform, was just such an amazing experience. So much so that I wanted to stay, 4 years later I was back at it for Team USA for the 1996 Olympics,” says Miller.

During the ’96 Games, she led the Magnificent Seven” to the US Women’s first ever Team Gold, she even went on to capture the Gold on the Balance Beam that year.

After retiring from competition, Miller received her undergraduate degrees in marketing and entrepreneurship from the University of Houston and her law degree from Boston College.

She then quickly became an advocate for the health and wellness of women and children.

In July 2010, Miller launched her own company, where she seeks to empower women to make their health a priority.

Around December of 2010, Miller became busy due to the holiday season and her son turning 1 year old.

She noticed she had a screening coming up but saw she was going to be out of town so she called her doctor asking if she could reschedule for next year, saying she felt fine.

The receptionist said they just had a cancellation and asked if she was available to come in.

That morning, her doctor found a baseball size cyst on her left ovary. After a lot of tests and scans, Miller found out she had a rare form of ovarian cancer in January of 2011.

When asked what was going through her head when she got her results, Miller said, “A cancer diagnosis changes your world, it stops your world for a bit. Thinking back to what scares me the most is that I did go in and tell my doctor I felt fine. I didn’t realize I had 3 of the 4 primary symptoms for ovarian cancer at that time and I completely disregarded them.”

Miller had stomach pain, bloating and weight loss, which she just played off to be things women always deal with.

“If I would have not come in, my outcome would have been drastically different. We know that with ovarian cancer,” explains Miller.

Miller has partnered with Lourdes Hospital and its parent company, Ascension, to promote the importance of cancer screenings.

“Your health is not going to wait, cancer doesn’t care. Heart disease, diabetes, anything that you’re up against, it’s always best to be able to stay on top of it. To have an early diagnosis, those are always positive things. We don’t want people to wait.”

Miller says it keeps her up at night knowing she almost pushed back her women’s exam because she felt healthy and she doesn’t want anyone making the same mistake she almost did, because going in that morning likely saved her life.

To watch the PSA with Ascension, visit; Women’s Health | Shannon Miller shares her passion for health | Ascension | 60 – YouTube.

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