When Helen Chen was 27, she was living in Beijing, China. She was engaged and pursuing a career she loved. She had a happy, fulfilling life — and suddenly, everything changed.

She was diagnosed with breast cancer.

As she underwent treatment in the United States, Helen felt alone and misunderstood by her healthy friends. There was no one in her life that truly understood what she was going through as a young woman battling cancer.

At the same time, her condition forced her to rediscover herself in a way she hadn’t before.

“Cancer has totally changed the way I see myself,” she says. “It’s made me look at mortality right in its eyes, and because of that I’ve had to be really authentic and brave.”

This is Helen’s story.