Maggie Kudirka was 23 years old and dancing for the Joffrey Concert Group in NYC when she discovered a lump in her breast. She was diagnosed with metastatic (stage 4) breast cancer.

“I was only 23 years old and had no risk factors for breast cancer, “ Maggie explains on her website Bald Ballerina. “But I had a large tumor that grew very quickly and spread to my bones and lymph nodes.”

Putting her dancing career on hold, Maggie moved back home to Maryland, and started her battle against the aggressive disease. After chemotherapy and a double mastectomy, Maggie has been doing well, but there’s no cure for this type of cancer. To keep the cancer cells dormant, she will remain on medications for the rest of her life… or until a cure is found.

In spite of her diagnosis, Maggie remains positive and continues to dance at every turn. “Six days after surgery, I was back in the studio working to regain my strength, stamina, and technique. I hope to return to dance in NYC again.”

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Maggie shares her story in this video from DanceOn, hoping it will encourage other young women to put their health first.

“I want to make people aware that breast cancer can strike anyone, at any age. No one is immune, no one is too young, no one is too fit.”

You can follow Maggie on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

Lead photo by Luis Pons. Published here with permission.