A Three-Time Cancer Survivor Finds a 'Ray of Light' and Opens Up About Her First Diagnosis

Three-time cancer survivor and “Pink Hulk” one-woman show writer and performer, Valerie David, recalls the day she learned she had non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Valerie David was 30 years old when she learned she had non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a type of blood cancer. It was on New Year’s Eve in 1998. But instead of isolating herself from loved ones, she went to a party that she and her then boyfriend had planned on attending.

“I remember so vividly, I walked into the party and I didn’t tell my friends what was happening, but they knew that I was going to find out that day,” said David, writer and performer of the one-woman show “The Pink Hulk: One Woman’s Journey to Find the Superhero Within.” “And I went over to them and they looked at me and I said, ‘We’re not going to talk about it today. We’re going to celebrate. We’re not going to talk about it tonight.’” David’s friends rallied around her.

David, who has since also had stage 2 breast cancer and is living with metastatic breast cancer, recalls a particularly poignant moment that night. “During the party, Madonna’s ‘Ray of Light’ came on and all of us starting dancing like it was this tribal thing,” David said. “That song, ‘Ray of Light,’ is in my show. It’s part of my pre-show music. And I always wanted to thank Madonna because that song has special meaning to me.”