When Angela was 26 years old, she was diagnosed with stage 3 Hodgkin lymphoma. She went into remission after rounds of chemotherapy, but the wife and mother from Peoria, Arizona sustained serious internal damage from the radiation.
Not only was Angela battling health issues, but her daughter Samantha had Joubert’s syndrome. Samantha was blind, non-verbal and couldn’t walk.
In April 2006, Samantha passed away at the age of 13. Angela thrust herself into a hole of depression and isolation, and it seemed there was nothing her husband Jim could do to help.
Not even a year later, Angela was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Luckily, she went into full remission, but her weight spiraled out of control. She developed high blood pressure and pre-diabetes, and she believed she was dying of a broken heart in the wake of her daughter’s death.
By 2010, Angela weighed nearly 250 pounds. It was during this time that husband Jim took matters into his own hands…
At the age of 26, Angela Doonan was diagnosed with stage 3 Hodgkin lymphoma.
After rounds of chemotherapy and radiation, Angela went into remission but her body suffered great internal damage in the process.
As if the Arizona motherhadn’t already gone through enough, Angela’s daughter Samantha was battling Joubert’s syndrome, a rare brain malformation.
As a result of her condition, Samantha was blind, non-verbal and couldn’t walk.
Angela and her husband, Jim, did everything they could to keepSamantha healthy, but in April 2006, Samantha passed away at the age of 13.
Eight months after her daughter’s tragic death, Angela was diagnosed with cancer for the second time. This time, it was thyroid cancer.
Angela underwent surgery in 2008 to have her thyroid removed. But because of the shift in hormones and the stress and depression caused by Samantha’s death Angela began putting on weight.
She ballooned to 234 pounds and developed pre-diabetes.
With her health quickly worsening, Angela threw herself into isolation. “I was dying from a broken heart,” she said. “I didn’t want to live.”
After four years ofisolation and depression,Angela suffered from high blood pressure and stage three renal failure.
The grieving mothersimply wasn’t in the right mental state to make healthy lifestyle changes.
That’s when Angela’s devoted husband Jim decided enough was enough. No longer could he watch his wife suffer through her state of depression, and he decided a dose of tough love was what she needed.
One day, Jim told Angela they were going for a walk around the neighborhood. Despite the fact she struggled to breath and move, that one simple walk was the beginning of a whole new chapter.
Whenever Angela felt like giving up, she would think about Samantha, and how her body was limited to her wheelchair. “I never allowed myself to take for granted the gift of mobility,” she said. “She’s my angel.”
As time passed, Angela was able to walk longer and farther. She started strength training and cut out fatty, sugary foods and drinks.
Doctors were absolutely stunned by Angela’s ability and determination to shed the weight and fully restore her health.
“They called me a poster child for the benefits of physical fitness.”
Inspired by the heartbreak of losing her daughter, Angela is currentlytraining for her first body building competition.
She is 45 years old.
Jim couldn’t be prouder of his brave and strong-minded wife, and the couple is more in love than ever before.
Now, Angela is sharing her story to inspire others. Anything is possible, even in the face of heartache.
“My late daughter Samantha is my motivation,” she says.
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