Phoenix woman survives same cancer diagnosis as Brittany Maynard

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX --Following 29-year-old cancer patient  Brittany Maynard's decision to "die with dignity" in Oregon, a Phoenix woman is sharing her cancer survival story to give hope to others.

"I wanted her to fight it and beat it, because I did that," Heather Knies told 3TV.

Knies, when she was 24, was diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer, and given six months to live.   Her situation was similar to Maynard's.

Knies went through two brain surgeries at the Barrow Neurological Institute of St. Joseph's Hospital.   Chemotherapy and radiation destroyed the cancer in her body, and today Knies is cancer-free.

She said she was "heartbroken" over Maynard's decision to take her doctor-prescribed lethal prescription.

"She didn't want to go through it and everyone has the right to choose.  I just want people to know there's another choice.  You can fight and be an outlier and be a survivor," Knies said.

Her rare, remarkable recovery surprised everyone, including doctors.   She does not judge Maynard for ending her own life, but wants to offer her own survival story as hope to others with cancer.

"I just want anyone faced with a deadly disease to know if you put up a fight, you have a chance of winning, too," she said.

Nearly a decade after her cancer diagnosis, Knies has a family, full-time job, and normal life.

She says she is not "cured," and still goes for MRIs every three months to make sure the cancer has not returned.