18 months ago, Melissa Cannell made a discovery that would change her life.

“I found out myself. I was doing a self examination and I found the lump in my left breast.” she recalls.

The next days moved quickly with doctor visits, biopsies and tough decicions. Through it all, her family was by her side.

” They were my rocks through this all.”

Driving from Cedaredge for treatment, chemo was tough, but the decision to have the cancerous tissue removed in surgery seemed tough in the beginning, but worth it in the end.

“A lot of women are defined by their looks and I didn’t want that because it saved my life so I was happy to have a mastectomy and to continue on so that way i could share my story.”

when Melissa found a lump that day in February 2016, it was the first step in her battle but it’s a step that made it an easier one to win.

“If you detect it early, it can usually be treated with simple surgeries, potentially radiation but at that point it can be cured and it won’t come back.” said Dr. Jim King, an oncologist with Community Hospital.

In an effort to raise awareness on the importance of an early diagnosis, the Colorado State Patrol is rolling out 6 pink striped cars.

“We hope that everything in pink is covered in signatures and notes of encouragement for other people who are challenged with breast cancer.” said Trooper Dan Chermok with the Fruita Division of CSP.

Melissa was the first to sign the car Friday. Her fighting spirit was shared today as her signatures were joined by others making the fight.

“It really warms my heart. We had people who were out actively getting chemo while they signed the car, put their notes on the car.” said Chermok.

It wasn’t a fight that Cannell chose, but it was a fight she took on.

“It’s just an amazing feeling to know you’ve completed this and stronger on the other side of it all.” she said.

In addition to yearly mammograms with a doctor, self examinations are a crucial part in early detection. Tips on how to conduct one can be found here: http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-self-exam