'Hamilton' Star Mandy Gonzalez Talks About Battling Breast Cancer Mid-Pandemic
The actress is now cancer-free and a Breast Cancer Research Foundation ambassador.
In January, Hamilton star Mandy Gonzalez announced her breast cancer diagnosis and said that she would continue performing the demanding role of Angelica Schuyler on Broadway as she battled the disease. The arrival of COVID-19 in New York City only made things harder for the star, who had to manage remote schooling for her 8-year-old daughter while dealing with the news that Broadway would be shut down indefinitely. She also had to start going to New Jersey for chemotherapy — alone, because of pandemic-related visitor restrictions.
But in July, she got to ring the bell indicating she was cancer-free. "I'm so grateful to the doctors and nurses who have led me along this fight," she wrote on Instagram. "I'm grateful to my friends and family for their endless support and love."
Now, Gonzalez is a Breast Cancer Research Foundation ambassador, and is proud to share her experience during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. "I think of everything that I went through in this past year, it's like I'm a different person," she told People. "And you can't not be: You have your life before your diagnosis and then you have your life after. And I think there is a place where you can just say, 'That's OK.'"
She decided to share her cancer journey to help raise awareness about the disease, especially for Latina women, for whom breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death and who are frequently diagnosed at later stages than other women. "I needed to use my voice and use my platform so that, if there are young people that have a similar background to me ... they know that this is something that can [affect] your life," she said.
Now that she's in remission, Gonzalez wants to help other cancer survivors cope with the aftermath of the disease, whether that's through the care packages she sends via her "Fearless Squad" or through speaking publicly about her own fight. "When you're going through a treatment for breast cancer, it's all about just getting through," she told People. "Nobody really talks to you about what happens once you get through. Really, it's just the beginning because it's always with you. It's something that is always in the back of your mind. It's a constant coming to terms with wherever you're at and being OK with that ... [helping others] helps me focus on my healing, but also my moving forward."