BOISE-- Dana Bilbao Miller was diagnosed with a deadly form of breast cancer 25 years ago. She was told she would never have children -- if she even survived. However, Miller defied all odds, survived, and even became a mother.
Now, she's started a network called the Boise Young Survival Coalition to help those affected by cancer at a young age.
Miller's own fight against cancer started when she was just in her 20s.
"I felt a lump and I went to the doctor," Miller said. " Actually, I went to the doctor 14 times in one year."
DIAGNOSED AT A YOUNG AGE
Sadly, Miller's doctor repeatedly told her she was too young to have cancer. However, Miller wasn't convinced and sought another opinion from another doctor.
"He opened my gown, and he said 'Oh my God, get to the hospital,'" Miller told KTVB. "He knew; he knew."
Miller had a single mastectomy to fight her breast cancer. Still, doctors did not have high hopes for her survival. She started treatment at St. Luke's Hospital Mountain States Tumor Institute. However, that treatment was so aggressive that she soon got more bad news -- doctors said she wouldn't be able to have children.
However, Miller defied those odds as well. In her early 30s she found out she was pregnant with daughter Allie. Then,10 years later, another "miracle baby" Alexandra was born
Even more surprising for Dana, she was able to breast feed both babies from just one breast. "I did it for over a year with Allie and over a year with Alexandra," Miller explained.
A SUPPORT SYSTEM FOR YOUNG SURVIVORS
As a cancer survivor, Miller is now working hard to foster a support system for young women under the age of 40 who are diagnosed with breast cancer. She wants that support to be available in Idaho now, because it wasn't available to her when she was diagnosed in her twenties.
"Idaho needs that support for young women, more and more young women are being diagnosed with breast cancer," Miller told KTVB.
The first meeting of the Boise Young Survival Coalition is Wednesday, May 22 at the Boise Hotel and Convention Center, on Vista. The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. in the Caribou Room.
FAMILY FIGHTS TOGETHER
On a related note, Miller couldn't be more proud of her two daughters: 19-year-old Allie and 10-year-old Alexandra. She says they also help fight against cancer by attending the Race for the Cure in Boise every year.
Miller's 10-year-old daughter Alexandra had a special role in the 2013 race. She was chosen to sing the national anthem at the 5K race starting line. "My Mom asked me one day, 'do you want to sing the national anthem?' and I was like yes!" Alexandra said.
It wasn't young Alexandra's first time. That's because she sang with Carrie Underwood at a recent concert here in the Treasure Valley.
"I brought a sign, and it said, 'Carrie, my only wish is to sing the national anthem with you,'" Alexandra said. "She saw it and brought me up on stage, it was really cool!"
Yet, while Alexandra says singing with Carrie Underwood was amazing, she also says singing at the Race for the Cure on Saturday was truly a special moment.
"I like racing each year for my mom, and I'm really proud of her," Alexandra told KTVB. "If it wasn't for her, i wouldn't be here and I love her a lot."