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Breast Cancer Survivor Helps Homeless Woman With Stage 4 Cancer Beat The Odds

First Posted: 10/24/11 02:03 PM ET Updated: 12/24/11 05:12 AM ET

Cynthia Ryan says Edwina Sanders is the real face of cancer.

Ryan, a two-time cancer survivor, met Sanders at a church in Birmingham, Ala., CBS News reports. Sanders had been homeless for 16 years and had Stage 4 breast cancer.

"I was scared to trust anybody," Sanders told the news outlet.

Ryan, an English professor at University of Alabama-Birmingham, guided Sanders through the medical system, encouraging her to get a mastectomy. She became her mentor and, according to Sanders, her best friend.

"Two years ago I would have stepped over Edwina on the street," Ryan said. "I could have been that person without the resources. It hit me in a way that I couldn't turn away from her."

Now, Sanders lives in a donated apartment and her cancer is in remission.

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Filed by Jessica Prois  |