A story of loss and life. One woman was in danger of losing her health insurance. It turns out that saved her life.

Debbie Angileri is all smiles as she plays with her children now. A year ago she couldn't hold back tears.

Debbie Angileri, Breast Cancer Survivor: "Your mind goes, 'Oh my goodness! My children, are they going to have a mother?'"

It was Debbie's first thought after she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She felt no lump. She wasn't planning on getting a mammogram. But because of her divorce she knew she would no longer have health insurance.

Debbie Angileri: "So with that I went and got my appointments made and went to the doctor to get just my mammogram."

Dr. Kambiz Dowlatt: "When you have this patch of white tissue appearing in the dark background, then that is the telltale sign of cancer."

The scan revealed a ticking time bomb.

Dr. Kambiz Dowlatt, Rush University Medical Center, Breast Surgeon: "Breast cancer starts as carcinoma in situ. It starts in the milk ducts. If it's not taken care of or detected for treatment it could develop into an invasive carcinoma, which means it penetrates the wall and then spreads."

Debbie's cancer was in multiple areas, but it had not yet spread.

Debbie Angileri: "It was contained but they could tell somehow it was about to break out. They described it being in a cage, but once it breaks out that's when you get in trouble. It goes to the lymph nodes, your organs."

Debbie had a double mastectomy. Early diagnosis and surgery spared her the need for chemotherapy or radiation. She hopes her story may send you to get screened.

Debbie: "I didn't feel anything. Cancer is silent. You don't know you have it. Who knows, maybe I wouldn't still have gone in at this point a year later and I would have been seriously in trouble. And I'm thankful to God that my children have a mother and that I'm here."

To give back, Debbie is volunteering at Tickled Pink this Friday night at Underground in Chicago. I'll be joining her along with Nancy Loo, hoping to raise money for breast cancer awareness and support.

If you want to join us at the Tickled Pink event Friday, February 11, go to www.tickledpinkchicago.com