The meaning and memories behind the Panerathon survivor shirt - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

The meaning and memories behind the Panerathon survivor shirt

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -

This year's survivor's shirt at Panerathon is designed out of love, from the heart-shaped ribbon to the lasting friendship that paved the way.

"The minute I saw the post, I said I have to do it," said Claudia Hirschochs.

She came up with the design as a way to honor her best friend, Denise Shaulis. Claudia was there through all the ups and downs. She remembers the day Denise learned her breast cancer was in remission. We all remember that day; September 11th of 2001.

"How do you reconcile the fact that this is going on and thousands of people that day, all of a sudden, their lives are snuffed out and here she's being told, 'You get to live'?" said Hirschochs.

But live she did, for another 10 happy years.

"We became the best of friends and we did all sorts of things; camping trips, day trips," said Hirschochs. "Unfortunately in 2011, 10 years after she went into remission, she passed away."

But Denise's story isn't over. Her battle helped Claudia learn to appreciate the little things in life, and this weekend all those memories are as strong as ever.  All you have to do is look at the heart in the shape of a ribbon.

"It's going to be a positive emotional experience because I'll be able to say, 'You know what, she's still here.' Part of her is cheering on the other people that are battling and the people that are fighting, and loved ones that are there to support their loved ones and families and friends," said Hirschochs. "It's a positive."

So when you see the shirt, think of Denise, think of all the women fighting that battle and the countless others fighting to make sure their stories are never forgotten.

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