Shannen Doherty Confesses: ‘Cancer Taught Me What Real Courage Is’

Shannen Doherty wins courage award
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Nov 07, 2016

Shannen Doherty has declared that her breast cancer battle has had a positive impact on her life, while being honoured at the American Cancer Society’s annual gala.

The former Beverly Hills 90210 star was at the event to receive the Courage Award from long-time friend Sarah Michelle Gellar.


“For the last year and a half, cancer has been my teacher. It’s taught me what love, strength, friendship and support truly looks like,” the 45-year-old said during her acceptance speech at the gala.

“It’s opened my eyes to myself and it’s allowed me to not only share my journey with people but it’s actually allowed me to share my inner self with anybody who actually wanted to know what it was like… And the end result is that I am nothing but vulnerability and, to me, vulnerability is courage.

“Courage isn’t something that comes to you immediately,” she continued. “It’s not something that you have fully. Courage is something that you gain and it grows. Courage is facing every day and every obstacle one step at a time. Courage is knowing that fear is not going to find a solution; it’s not going to help you find a cure.

“Courage is embracing what you’re going through and trying to get through it with as much dignity as you possibly can, while also accepting your circumstances and allowing yourself to feel everything.”


Shannen added that her diagnosis and subsequent treatment has helped her to see who her true friends are.

“It exposes any lie in your life whatsoever. It exposes who’s not really there for you and who really is there for you,” she said.

“It’s this brilliant thing where you just look around and think, ‘Oh my God, this person is amazing, they’re showing up for me in a way I never expected.’”


Shannen’s powerful speech also acknowledged that the award came on the sixth anniversary of her father’s death.

“He also had his own health problems, and I watched him face life with such joy and love — and it has just inspired me to be as much like my father as humanly possible, in his battle,” she revealed.

“So, I want to accept this award not for myself — I’m accepting this award for all the fathers out there who have taught your children to have courage, and I also accept it on behalf of every single cancer patient out there and all their caregivers.”


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