Name: Allison W. Gryphon
Diagnosed At Age: 38
Status: There is currently no evidence of disease in my body.
Bio: Allison W. Gryphon is a novelist, filmmaker and breast cancer fighter with a passion for story and an undying appetite for living life to the fullest.
On April 13th, 2011, Allison was diagnosed with stage IIIa breast cancer. Everything came to a halt, but only for a moment. Allison took a deep breath, then decided to fight. The first thing she did was look for a movie that would give her an understanding of what she was facing in terms of her cancer battle both physically and emotionally. The movie didn’t exist. She couldn’t believe it. So she decided to make it. Having been a part of the Hollywood community for many years, Allison sent out the call for help, and the response was both overwhelming and beautiful. With absolutely no money to be had, many of Hollywood’s most talented stepped up to the plate and offered her their talents, their services, their time and their hearts. For the most part, Allison paid them with cookies. The result is Allison’s directorial debut, the recently completed feature documentary What the F@#- is Cancer and Why Does Everybody Have it?
In association with the feature film, a collection of personal stories and programs focusing on specific cancers, treatments and experiences will be released through a series of DVDs entitled “The What? Series”. Allison is currently working to make getting through the day-to-day of fighting cancer easier for people through her newly created The Why? Foundation, and paired with designer Piper Gore she is behind The Fighter T for Breast Cancer Fighters.
My reaction when I was first diagnosed: For me being diagnosed was validation. I’d found the lump myself and I just knew. That being said, actually hearing the diagnosis was an out of body experience. With one sentence I lost control over my entire being. For about a half hour I was numb and in shock, then after I had the opportunity to catch my breath, I went into go mode. I wanted to do whatever I needed to do to get the cancer out of my body as soon as possible in the most effective way possible.
How I’m feeling now: I feel great. I’m healthier than ever. I still have my adjustment moments of getting used to the new me. The treatment and reconstruction really changed my appearance. I went from being a slender, blonde pixi to being a curvy brunette and with that my whole style has had to be adjusted. In the beginning it was very difficult, but now I’m settling in.
My inspirations: People inspire me. The sunrise inspires me. The scent of a flower or a fresh brewed cup of coffee. I have always known that life is beautiful, but it was with the cancer diagnosis that I truly began living a life where I feel and see the beauty and inspiration in everything around me all the time.