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Leslie Vanoni survives cancer, Shasta

The survival rate for metastatic breast cancer is about 26 months. The relapse rate for alcohol and drug addicts can be as high as 90 percent.

And the success rate for summit attempts on 14,162-foot high Mt. Shasta ranges from 33 to 40 percent.

By all counts, 47-year-old Leslie Vanoni has beat the odds.

In 2001, the Sonoma data analyst for Autodesk was diagnosed with stage-2 breast cancer. In the ensuing struggle to survive, she leaned more and more heavily on alcohol, even as the cancer slid into remission. By her own account, she hit bottom, lost everything (including her children), and with great irony became a recovering cancer patient and a disintegrating alcoholic. But Vanoni has a steel interior. In 2009, cleared of cancer, she finally managed to quit drinking for good.

Then, in 2011 sober a year-and-a-half, five-years past the remission mark, a PET scan revealed “spots on my spine, hip and lungs. Stage 4 cancer. There is no stage 5.”


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