FRESNO, Calif (KSEE)-At 35-years-old, Elsie Navarro of Fresno has youth on her side. She’s married, with a 7-year-old son, with her whole life ahead of her. But five years ago at age 30, she wasn’t so sure.

“All of a sudden I found this lump. It was about the size of a walnut,” says Elsie. It happened in the shower as she was getting ready for work. Elsie felt a lump below her right breast, something she had never felt before. “I kind of froze for a second. I was like what in the world is it?” she says.

Elsie called her doctor. One mammogram,an ultrasound and biopsy later doctors confirmed the shocking news: that Elsie at only age 30 had stage two breast cancer. “I kept playing it off as if it was nothing and total shock that it was cancer and my life changed drastically after that,” says Elsie.

Breast cancer strikes one in eight women. The risk grows with age. Annual screenings for women typically begin at age 40, so the discovery Elsie made on her own likely saved her life. As the mother of a then 3-year-old, she had a lot to live for. “I kept looking at him and thinking I have to do whatever is in my power to get better. My son needs me. I can’t imagine him growing up without his mother,” remembers Elsie.

Genetic testing found Elsie carries the BRACA 1 gene mutation. She’s had both breasts and her ovaries removed. She’s gone through a lot, and shares her story when she can by participating online in a storytelling academy and through the local organization Bra’s for a Cause. “I told myself when I was diagnosed, I will never let anyone feel alone. I will always be there to help anyone that’s going through this because it’s really tough,” she says.

For Elsie, there’s now a new purpose in her young life: to live life to the fullest and do everything she can to help other women do the same.

Elsie is involved in the Bras for a Cause four year anniversary fundraiser on May 26th. Tickets are on sale right now. For more information go to