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Mesa cancer survivor re-enlists in Navy after last treatment

Carol Ortiz
Posted at 7:09 PM, Jan 27, 2021

MESA, AZ — Carol Ortiz walked out of her last cancer therapy Wednesday at Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center feeling excited and determined.

"Basically it's a double salute to cancer," she said.

The Navy Chief was medically cleared and thought that since her re-enlistment date was coming up, it'd be fitting to leave her last treatment and in the parking lot, re-enlist in the Navy for another six years.

"Being in the Navy is amazing. It's an honorable thing to serve my country and I've loved every minute of doing my 13 years," said Ortiz.

In 2019, Carol and her wife Danielle were competing in a triathlon when Carol got in a serious bike accident.

"What we thought were injuries from the accident led to a Stage 3 breast cancer diagnosis," said her wife Danielle.

Carol was diagnosed with invasive Stage 3 breast cancer. She's been through chemotherapy, surgery, radiation and drug therapy.

"She's so strong, she's determined, and nothing was going to get her down. We're still exercising, still trying to be healthy," said Danielle.

Even during her treatment, Carol was working full-time as a recruiter for the Navy.

"To fight Stage 3 and then be told you have no evidence of disease, I think part of the attribution of that is being positive the whole time and having the support that I've had, that's what really has gotten me through it," said Carol Ortiz.

Her family and military family were in the parking lot to support her in taking her oath Wednesday.

"Because she's a Chief, the Chief's Mess is probably the largest organization in the military that just--they're brothers and sisters. So her brothers and sisters are out here to support her not only for her final treatment but also to see her re-enlist and continue on with them," said Danielle.