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Mom battling breast cancer chooses 'to look for the stars'

Shauna Schlender admits it can be difficult to stay positive through her breast cancer battle.
/ Source: TODAY

Shauna Schlender admits it can be difficult to stay positive through her breast cancer battle.

“There are many days when the weight of my cancer makes it impossible to stand,” the 33-year-old Michigan mother wrote in a letter picked as an "Everyone Has a Story" winner Thursday during TODAY's Fourth Hour.

But support from Shauna's friends and family, including her husband and 2-year-old daughter, have helped her stay grateful for her many blessings.

After her diagnosis earlier this year, Shauna had a mastectomy, eight rounds of chemotherapy and is now undergoing 33 radiation treatments.

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Yet she has received a good prognosis from her doctor, and even managed to serve as her sister's maid of honor in August.

She also wakes up every morning to her daughter's sweet smile.

"My faith has grown tremendously, and I know I have not been alone in this journey. I will continue to look for blessings, as I go through treatment, and later reconstruction,” she said.

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“I trust in the greater purpose of this pain, and I know even the darkest night will end, and the sun will rise. While I wait, I choose to look for the stars.”

That faith and attitude is why Kathie Lee and Hoda picked Shauna's story to share during the Fourth Hour.

It's also why Kathie Lee and her friend, composer David Friedman, wrote Schlender an original song, “Choosing to Look for the Stars," which was performed Thursday by Elizabeth Ward Land, from Broadway’s “Amazing Grace.”

The performance brought Shauna and her husband to tears.

"It was incredible," she said. "It was beautifully sung. It was beautifully written. It was perfect."

Because the family has not been been able to take a vacation since Shauna was diagnosed earlier this year, TODAY surprised them with a vacation to San Diego, including air fare for three and a four-day, three-night stay at the Hard Rock Hotel.