Have you ever met someone who is so positive that their smile brightens up the room? Someone who seemingly can’t be brought down, no matter their situation? Do you ever wonder how they do it—how they manage to stay so happy all the time? Well, many of these positive people get their inspiration from a personal hero, as is the case with Dahlia Clark Hanshaw.
Hanshaw is a Wendy’s manager in Norwalk, Connecticut. She serves with a smile and will sing with her employees, when they’re feeling down. They love her for it, calling her “a perfect example” for how to live life.
Staying positive and being a good role model can be tough for a lot of people—but it’s especially impressive when you consider Hanshaw’s recent diagnosis.
Four months ago, Hanshaw was diagnosed with breast cancer and it’s been an uphill battle ever since. She goes to the Norma Pfriem Breast Care Center at Bridgeport Hospital every week on Mondays since her diagnosis—not just for chemo, but for hugs as well. The staff there appreciate Hanshaw just as much as she appreciates them, seeing her as a true inspiration. Yet having to endure chemo and then work an eight-hour shift has proved taxing for her.
“There’s Mondays where I don’t want to come,” she said. “And it’s not that I don’t want do the chemo. It’s just, I’m tired.”
Luckily, she has a personal hero to keep her going: track and field sprinter, and six-time Olympic gold medalist, Allyson Felix.
“Even if you fall while you’re running, I’m trying to get back up and keep going again,” Hanshaw explained. “Don’t give up. Fight.”
The nurses who treat Hanshaw admired her so much that they decided to reach out to The Today Show for their breast cancer awareness series, #PinkPower. TODAY listened to this request and stopped by Wendy’s in Norwalk for a two-part surprise.
When Hanshaw saw host Hoda Kotb at her restaurant, she immediately burst into tears. Yet that was far from the biggest surprise that day. Allyson Felix stopped in as well, gifting Hanshaw the custom spikes that she wore when she ran in the 2016 Rio Olympics. Hanshaw was overflowing with tears of joy!
When Kotb asked Hanshaw admired most in Felix, she said: “She never gives up. She never gives up. Ever year, she trains for another goal. I watch her all the time. Never give up.”
The whole restaurant applauded and cheered. Hanshaw received an overwhelming amount of praise that day, but she deserved every bit of it.
“From the beginning, Dahlia was very special, but she also had this spirit that just overcame it all,” said Nurse Patricia Poniros.
Hanshaw is a giver. So, giving back was long overdue.
“I just love being me and giving back,” Hanshaw explained, “I can’t give a lot, so I give love.”
It just goes to show that inspiration has a domino effect. You inspire one person and they’ll inspire ten more, then those people will go on to inspire even more people. Even Felix, who serves as Hanshaw’s inspiration, has people who inspired her and those people had heroes as well.
So, whenever you’re wondering how someone pushes through, just ask them who they look up to and you might just discover what’s been keeping them going all along!