My name is Teena Miller. I live in Vallejo, California with my husband, J.D. I am a survivor of 3 unrelated cancers: cervical, breast and skin.
My last chemo treatment was fast approaching and I knew I would start radiation soon. My oncology nurses were telling me of an event that would be happening in August that celebrated survivors. I attended my first RELAY FOR LIFE in Vallejo in 2003!! I gripped my husband’s arm for dear life as I began my 1st Survivor Lap around the entire track??!! With each step, I was CHEERED ON by complete strangers! I saw my oncology nurses all lined up for me- I was touched beyond measure! It was exactly what I needed. I completed my 1st lap and I was ALIVE! Relay was my new family!
In the years that followed I was asked to speak as the Keynote/Kick-off Speaker and to lead Laughter Yoga Sessions on the football field. That is when I learned I could bring HOPE to survivors and their support groups. Through these experiences, I became a Hero (now Voice) of Hope in 2016. I have spoken in many communities, Relay For Life events, in City Council Chambers to football fields, city parks and college gyms and even on Zooms!
This year, 2022, is my 20-year anniversary from late-stage breast cancer! Through the years I have had 2 mastectomies, a melanoma tumor removed, and many other surgeries associated with the cancers! This year, my husband is a one-year survivor. Now, I am his caregiver as he was mine. We both know that this thing called LIFE is a MIRACLE. We will both be walking the track together! My Team Name is LAUGHING HEARTS SURVIVE and yes, we will.
I had to overcome Survivor Guilt by learning what my purpose is, and was – “I’m here to love as many people as I chose … AND irritate the rest … and I’m pretty successful at both!”