Chancellor Hinshaw's battle with Breast Cancer

Chancellor Virginia Hinshaw
Chancellor Virginia Hinshaw

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Chancellor Virginia Hinshaw is a regular at Warrior football games.

She's travelled with the Warriors to Washington, Vegas and San Jose this year.

In fact she cheers on her athletes in every sport, but it's not just the action on the field that fuels her passion for sports.

"Being involved in athletics, they learn to win and lose and keep on going," she said. "And that resiliency is so important in life."

It's important to her that's for sure.

Fifteen years ago Hinshaw was diagnosed with breast cancer while a Vice Chancellor of Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

She says she was shocked and mad, angry that (as she put it) her body had let her down.

"At that point I decided I would be very open about the fact that I had breast cancer and discuss this challenge with folks," she recalls. "And I felt that was a good approach for me and then also I could serve as a visible spokesperson to help others deal with it. Because at the same time that helped me."

You know what also helped? Laughing.

"You develop a kind of a dark humor," said Hinshaw. "I watched Fargo over and over and over again. And I think that helps you. You laugh at instances and issues that other people wouldn't."

Hinshaw underwent a lumpectomy and radiation treatment.

And with the help of her husband of 48 years and the rest of her family she got through some tough times.

But she also realizes with breast cancer you're never fully in the clear.

"It is scary," Hinshaw admits. "It is with you forever basically."

But when anxiety, fear and negativity start to creep in she's developed a visualization technique that helps her deal with it.

"When I feel that, I have a little box in my head with a gnarly creature in it," said Hinshaw. "And I start feeling it come out of the box and seeing it. I reach up there and mentally slam the top down and say I'm not going there."

So Chancellor Hinshaw remains active with the American Cancer Society, speaks openly about her ordeal, and gives advice to anyone who asks.

Because while breast cancer may have knocked her down before she's found the strength to get back up and "keep on going."

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