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Cancer survivor living her life to the fullest while helping others

'I wanted to do something to find purpose'
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Posted at 11:21 AM, Oct 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-01 18:37:38-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- When friends or family call Missy Bass with an invite whether its dinner, a concert or trip abroad, Missy always accepts.

"I get on a plane. Get in a car. Just go. Do it. Live life. Go!" said Missy. "I drove across country in 5 days. Saw everything. It was magical. I go out and truly live life to the fullest."

The Richmond woman has a wall full of Kodak moments to prove it.

"When I wake up in the morning and when I come home at night, these are the people (in the photos) I want to remember the most," said Missy.

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Missy doesn't know what tomorrow may bring. But she remembers what yesterday brought.

"It all happened in a week that I knew I had cancer," said Missy. "It is a blood cancer."

In 2010, the mortgage lender's life was upended with a doctor's diagnosis. Missy's Hodgkin's Disease required forgettable hospital visits.

"I had four rounds of chemo. I had 17 rounds of radiation. I would take chemo every single day of the week over radiation," said Missy.

The illness rocked the Virginia Beach native, but she remained determined.

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"When I got the diagnosis, I never thought I wouldn't survive," said Missy. "That was never on my radar."

Missy leaned on friends and family for support.

"They went to every single chemo appointment with me. They would never let me go by myself," said Missy. "I was never by myself even when I wanted to be by myself."

After one year of battling, doctors declared Missy was in remission. But cancer would still take its toll.

"Devastating. Devastating," said Missy.

Her mother Mara died of breast cancer in 2012. She was 62.

"My mom worked way to hard for me to be average. That is the truth. Everything I do is in her memory," said Missy.

Since then Missy has vowed to help patients in need.

"There is no playbook to how you have cancer," said Missy. "I didn't know how to act or how to be. But I came out on the other side a better person."

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Every year Missy raises money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Light the Night event.

"I remember when I was done with cancer, I wanted to do something. I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to do something to find purpose," said Missy.

Light the Night honors survivors, caregivers and those who have passed on.

Since 2010, Missy has raised about $100,000 for LLS. And is not stopping.

"I didn't want to sit around and be like, 'I had cancer.' I wanted to do something that would help," said Missy.

Cancer robbed Missy of so much, but it couldn't steal her spirit. Survivor Missy Bass always counts her blessings and ready to accept every invite that life has to offer.

"I don't want any regrets," said Missy. "I don't want to leave anything on the table."

Missy Bass has been raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society for ten years and this year is no different. The Light the Night event on October 10 is virtual this year.

Greg McQuade features local heroes in a weekly “Heroes Among Us” segment. Watch Greg’s reports Thursdays on CBS News at 6 or here on WTVR.com. If you would like to nominate someone to be featured on “Heroes Among Us,” click here to email heroes@wtvr.com.

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