Shannen Doherty continues to show cancer who’s boss. In her first public appearance since completing chemotherapy last week, the 45-year-old hosted the Animal Hope & Wellness Foundation’s first Gratitude Gala in Los Angeles on Saturday, March 4, and spoke to Us Weekly about how she’s doing now.
“I feel great. I mean, I feel good, I’m super-positive, I’m happy with where I’m at right now,” the Beverly Hills, 90210 alum told Us. “Cancer, for me, as hard as it is, has been a blessing. It has changed who I am as a human being forever. It’s altered my life in ways I can’t even speak of.”
In great spirits, wiping tears between smiling and laughing on the red carpet, Doherty, who went public with her breast cancer diagnosis in 2015, said fighting the battle of her life made her want to give back.
“To just infuse all of that positive energy that I have behind me from my cancer family out there that support me, and for everybody who is down with the ‘Cancer Slayer’ [as she calls herself], they’re now here,” she explained. “I just feel so blessed and so lucky in my life.”
Being asked to host the first-ever gala was an honor for the star. “I literally pulled my car over and was like, ‘Really? Really?’ I was shouting like Sally Field when she won an Oscar. ‘You like me!’ That’s how I felt.”
Doherty’s husband of five years, Kurt Iswarienko, was by her side on Saturday, taping her speech. “Cancer can be isolating and depressing, can be all-consuming. Cancer can overwhelm your life,” she told the audience. “Seeing animals being rescued touched my heart and they renew my determination to dig deep and continue my own personal fight. I wonder how I would fare faced with such death and cruelty. … [Animals] encouraged me to face adversity with the same strength and grace that they display in the face of destruction.”
Walking the carpet with AHWF’s founder Marc Ching, the two shared an emotional moment, tearing up as they reflected on Doherty’s battle, which has seen her undergo a mastectomy, radiation treatment and chemotherapy. “[Doherty] doesn’t know this, but I actually went to her page and I looked at her pictures when she was going through cancer,” an emotional Ching told Us. “I said, ‘If people can be that strong in the face of death, I can do what I have to for others.’”
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