A positive attitude. The internal and mental strength to fight. You have to be a warrior and champion for yourself. You have to push yourself to get up and walk when you don’t have the energy to keep moving. You have to eat when you have no appetite. You have to battle through the tough struggles one at a time.

Cancer is a horrible and terrifying disease. Yet millions of people have beaten the odds and beat cancer. Authority Magazine started a new series called “I Survived Cancer and Here Is How I Did It”. In this interview series, we are talking to cancer survivors to share their stories, in order to offer hope and provide strength to people who are being impacted by cancer today.

As a part of this interview series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kristine W.

Kristine W, recognized by Billboard Magazine as the 8th Greatest Dance Artist of All Time, has navigated the peaks and valleys of life with remarkable resilience and creativity. Her journey, marked by a formidable battle against leukemia, reveals not only her strength but the profound impact of supportive relationships during times of adversity. As she recounts the isolating months on the oncology floor of UCLA, where treatments left her immune system fragile, Kristine underscores the essential role of her family and close friends in her fight for life. “The treatments are so very difficult, and there were many times I wanted to give up, but my family and close friends kept me strong and inspired me to fight,” she shares. This experience, fraught with challenges, has been a source of inspiration for her music, particularly in her latest single, “By My Side.”

“By My Side,” crafted in collaboration with James Hurr, a luminary in the UK House music scene, serves as a vibrant tribute to the unconditional love, support, and friendship Kristine received during her most challenging period. This track, a celebratory homage, embodies the gratitude and recognition of the ‘angels’ who stood by her, making all the difference in her journey to recovery. Through her music, Kristine W seeks not only to entertain but to impart a message of appreciation and awareness of the fragility of life.

Her intention with “By My Side” extends beyond personal gratitude; it is a universal reminder of our transient presence in the “Land of the Living” — a poignant reference to her debut album and the 1996 hit that Billboard Magazine described as “a melancholy pop/house anthem that beautifully showcases her formidable pipes and dramatic flair.” This perspective is rooted in her own confrontation with mortality and underscores the importance of expressing love and appreciation for the people in our lives.

Kristine W’s career, punctuated by her talent and resilience, has not only made her a significant figure in the dance music genre but also a voice of inspiration and hope. Her story and her songs remind us of the strength found in community and the importance of cherishing every moment with those who matter most.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

The key to success in life is perseverance. It has helped me stay on track in all aspects of my life from my career to my battle with cancer. I knew that when I was diagnosed with cancer that the journey would be long but I was determined to walk it out step by step. I would put my lip stick on, look at myself in the mirror with my bald head and pray to God and I was grateful for the opportunity to take the fight day by day. It is easy to get doubtful along the way because not everyone survives but all anyone with cancer can do is hang in there and persevere and make the best choices along way.

Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion about surviving cancer. Do you feel comfortable sharing with us the story surrounding how you found out that you had cancer?

Yes, I had gone to see several doctors about my fatigue and my body was easily bruising and not healing. Doctors ran a series of tests over a six-month period of time and no one was finding anything. Finally, a doctor did some very thorough blood tests on me. When the results came back, the doctor called and I remember I was standing in my yard and he said that I needed to drop everything I was doing and come to his office right away. When I got there, he told me that I had leukemia.

The type of leukemia he thought I had had a decent survival rate and a less aggressive treatment plan. I remember the doctor trying to get me to start the treatment plan right away but I paused because I wanted another opinion. I went from Las Vegas to Dr. Mary Territo at UCLA. I also consulted with Dr. Nagourney in the Long Beach CA area. After more testing, they discovered that the initial diagnosis was not correct and that I actually had AML, a more aggressive form of cancer that didn’t have as high of a survival rate.

From that experience, I encourage people who know something is off with their body to listen to it and be persistent in finding the cause and also, if they feel it is appropriate, get a second opinion before starting a treatment.

What was the scariest part of that event? What did you think was the worst thing that could happen to you?

It was terrifying to hear the word “leukemia” and the doctor got watery eyed because he knew me and the fear in his eyes and voice left me frozen. He started talking about the percent of people who don’t make it and all I could think of was who was going to raise my kids if I don’t make it? My kids were really young at the time and it would have been hard for them to remember me.

My Dad died when I was young and I remember so little of him. That flashed through my mind. I can remember his voice and a few random things but that is it. I needed to be sure that the right people were around my children — both during my cancer fight as well as after — depending on what happened.

The doctor told me I had to start treatment or I would be dead I six months. I have never been afraid of dying because I know God has me and I am going to heaven, so that is a comfort to me. It was really about my kids.

Nothing was as scary to me as dying and leaving my kids without a mother.

How did you react in the short term?

I went home and I didn’t want my kids to see me panic so, until I could get it together, I lived in the guest house. My mother-in-law came into town to help with the kids. I started to think through options for treatment and I had people around me do research. Then I decided to see other doctors because my original doctor wasn’t a cancer specialist. Ultimately, I had a doctor tell me I should go to UCLA in Los Angeles for a second opinion. That is where I ended up doing my treatments and my family moved temporarily to Marina Del Rey to be close by.

After the dust settled, what coping mechanisms did you use? What did you do to cope physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually?

I talked to God a lot. I cried it out. I think it is important to grieve. It is kind of like a death because you don’t know if you will survive or what you will be able to do while fighting the cancer or what life will look like if you’re lucky enough to survive. I knew God had it all under control and His will would be done and He would walk me through it. I also talked it out with only a close circle of people. This is also where Dr. Territo and Dr. Nagourney came into the picture.

Is there a particular person you are grateful towards who helped you learn to cope and heal? Can you share a story about that?

There was a small army of them but my four warriors were: one of my best friends, Ann-Riley, who stayed by my bedside the whole time; my Mother-in-Law; my friend Julie Michaels who helped organize the blood and platelet donors so we knew where the donations were coming from; and Cheri Walters who temporarily moved to Marina Del Rey to watch my kids.

In my own cancer struggle, I sometimes used the idea of embodiment to help me cope. Let’s take a minute to look at cancer from an embodiment perspective. If your cancer had a message for you, what do you think it would want or say?

Cancer had a message for me and that was priorities and balance are important. I had become out of balance in my life and was so focused on my career. I was traveling so much! I was actually in Japan when symptoms really started to get worse. I noticed that nothing would heal on my body: if I cut myself or had bruises, they wouldn’t heal. I had a low immune system and low platelets so nothing was working well. I was also really fatigued. Cancer taught me to slow down, put my health first and be more balanced with more life moving forward.

What did you learn about yourself from this very difficult experience? How has cancer shaped your worldview? What has it taught you that you might never have considered before? Can you please explain with a story or example?

I had written an album called, “Land of the Living” that was all about stories of survival: surviving the music business and surviving the difficulties of life. Now I was faced with something truly real: surviving death. I realized that I really had to live life in a different way and I needed to live the lyrics, “Alive, Alive, Alive.” I believe my journey can and does help others.

I learned that I was braver and more mentally tough than I thought I was. I thought because I grew up an athlete that I was mentally strong but this was another level. I learned how fragile life is and to celebrate more things while here. I appreciate the gifts that God gives us and I don’t take things or people for granted. Just the simple act of going outside to see the moon is amazing after being in the hospital five to six weeks at a time.

I learned that there are doctors all over the world who are working on cures for cancer and how huge the epidemic is and the fight still carries on.

How have you used your experience to bring goodness to the world?

I write very upbeat songs that are focused on love and appreciation. I put things into my music because there is a power of music that is alive and well. I want the positivity to show through. When I write a new song, I always ask myself: will this lift people’s spirits and give them hope? Even in this article, I want it to encourage people and provide hope.

What are a few of the biggest misconceptions and myths out there about fighting cancer that you would like to dispel?

That just taking chemo and all of the medicines and following the regiments is enough. No! You have to do the work. You have to change your diet and your habits and do the research and get advice from trusted doctors. Dr. Nagourney is really great at helping to be sure that the treatment regime is the best one for each person.

You also have to get your spiritual life in order. You really have to re-calibrate everything — mind, body and spirit!

Fantastic. Here is the main question of our interview. Based on your experiences and knowledge, what advice would you give to others who have recently been diagnosed with cancer? What are your “5 Things You Need To Beat Cancer? Please share a story or example for each.

  1. The fear of the disease may kill you before the disease itself so don’t let it. I remember getting that diagnosis and in a 48-hour period I thought I was having a heart attack and might die from all of the anxiety. Luckily, I remembered “Fear Not” is in the Bible over and over. You have to find a way to not be overwhelmed and to take it day by day.
  2. Get to a hospital that is a research hospital — places with cutting edge treatments
  3. Get a doctor like Dr. Mary Territo who isn’t just focused on the treatment but is empathetic and takes the time to really explain things to you and answer your questions and walk you through it all.
  4. Faith. You are going to need God and your faith and a circle of great friends and family that you can lean on because you can’t do it alone.
  5. A positive attitude. The internal and mental strength to fight. You have to be a warrior and champion for yourself. You have to push yourself to get up and walk when you don’t have the energy to keep moving. You have to eat when you have no appetite. You have to battle through the tough struggles one at a time.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be?

My movement would be the Enlightenment Movement — to inspire people through communication and the arts/music and the church to find faith and hope. God is a big part of that. We need to get back to our life source and acknowledge God’s role in it all. It would be great if we could stop being destructive to the planet and our environment which causes a lot of these health issues. The goal would be to be more positive and think about others first.

We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them. 🙂

Tony Robbins. He is a man of faith and is a survivor. He has a curious mind and is inspirational. It would be great to be around his energy and really just dig in on some topics. My late sister passed away from cancer not long ago. She loved him also so it would be wonderful to meet him. She would be “with me” at lunch.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Easiest thing is to go to my website, KristineW.com, and that will lead you to all of my social media and keep you up to date on my latest news, music and shows!

Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!


  • Savio P. Clemente

    TEDx Speaker, Media Journalist, Board Certified Wellness Coach, Best-Selling Author & Cancer Survivor

    Savio P. Clemente, TEDx speaker and Stage 3 cancer survivor, infuses transformative insights into every article. His journey battling cancer fuels a mission to empower survivors and industry leaders towards living a truly healthy, wealthy, and wise lifestyle. As a Board-Certified Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC, ACC), Savio guides readers to embrace self-discovery and rewrite narratives by loving their inner stranger, as outlined in his acclaimed TEDx talk: "7 Minutes to Wellness: How to Love Your Inner Stranger." Through his best-selling book and impactful work as a media journalist — covering inspirational stories of resilience and exploring wellness trends — Savio has collaborated with notable celebrities and TV personalities, bringing his insights to diverse audiences and touching countless lives. His philosophy, "to know thyself is to heal thyself," resonates in every piece.