It was the worst news she could have heard at the time. 23-year-old Danielle Smalley was likely the youngest person to have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, an incredibly rare form of cancer.
The disease is known for being particularly aggressive, damaging internal organs such as the heart, lungs, and stomach-area. Typically, surgery is only done to mitigate the symptoms and not often successful.
The doctors believed that the cancer was due to her ingesting asbestos as a young child. They estimated it would have been around 20 years prior, meaning she was only a three-year-old at the time.
After running several tests, the hospital informed her that she needed treatment immediately, and that's when she realized surgery was going to be an option. However, Danielle was given the chance to try an experimental new procedure that could potentially save her life.
But she was informed that there was a risk that she may never have children afterwards, and worse, there was no time to freeze any eggs.
"I was devastated, as I knew I wanted kids in the future, but knew I needed to have treatment quickly," she said.