It is a true gift to be able to, even in the most difficult times, make the best of any and every situation, and that is exactly the kind of person Connecticut resident Dahlia Clark Hanshaw is. Four months ago, Hanshaw, who is a manager at a Norwolk Wendy’s, was diagnosed with breast cancer and began chemotherapy soon after. While her treatments leave her physically tired, her infectious spirit and lust for life has not diminished one bit.
“She’s a perfect example of you keep going in life and you smile,” one of her employees, Tanya Sanchez, told the Today show on Thursday. “I love her for that.”
Hanshaw is beloved by all those who work for her and the medical staff at Bridgeport Hospital who handle her care.
“I may be having a bad day that day, and she just comes in and brightens my day,” one nurse said, while another added that, from the beginning, “she had this spirit that just overcame it all.”
Unbeknownst to Hanshaw, the team at Bridgeport Hospital reached out to NBC News in hopes of surprising their favorite patient with a visit from someone she finds very inspirational: Olympic gold medal-winning track and field star Allyson Felix. In honor Breast Cancer Awareness month, breast cancer survivor and NBC News anchor Hoda Kotb made Hanshaw’s dream a reality, introducing her to the American track star during one of her shifts at Wendy’s.
Overcome with emotion, Hanshaw embraced both Kotb and Felix, who gifted her with the custom spikes she wore while competing in the 200- and 400-meter sprints in the 2016 summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Hanshaw said she admires the Olympian for much of the same reason people admire her: an incredible ability overcome any obstacle that comes her way.
“Even if you fall when you’re running, I’m trying to get back up and keep going again,” Hanshaw said in reference to what she’s learned from Felix. “Don’t give up. Fight.”
Perhaps most inspiring about Hanshaw is her desire to look after and care for those around her even as she goes through such a trying time. Admitting that she may not have much to give financially, Hanshaw, who is famous for her hugs, more than makes up for it with her spirit.
“I just love being me, and I love giving back,” she concluded. “I can’t give a lot, so I just give love.”
Watch the TODAY segment HERE.