When the bell rings at UC San Diego Medical Center it marks a significant moment in a cancer patient’s journey -- the end of treatment and the beginning of a cancer-free life.
For former San Diego State University player Tammy Blackburn, that moment was realized Tuesday.
Blackburn had her family, friends and treatment team gather for the celebration at UC San Diego's Moores Cancer Center. The moment the bell rang, there were cheers and tears from everyone there.
It marked the end of Blackburn's eight months of treatment for stage 2 ductal carcinoma breast cancer.
"Today, I have clarity, I have happiness, I have joy, and I am just so incredibly grateful," Blackburn said.
Blackburn wants to use her experience to pay it forward to others. She' setting up a fund at SDSU named after her doctor and wants to provide resources to students who may not have access to the type of care she did.
Blackburn was a four-year starting guard from 1990-1994 for the women’s basketball team at San Diego State University.
She went on to work for SDSU Alumni and is now the Director of Development Technologies.
She also moonlights on the weekends for the Pac-12 Network and CBS, calling collegiate women’s basketball games.
Blackburn decided early on to continue her on-air work, despite losing her hair because of chemo treatments.
She was forced to decide: wig, hat or bald?
"At the end of the day, this is who I am, this is what I’m facing and this is what I look like. This is the real me right now, living my every day,” Blackburn said. "It has meant a lot to so many women to see me as they say ‘rock the bald’ each and every day."
Because of her high-profile weekend gig, Blackburn has been showered with support from nearly every Pac-12 school, along with her alma mater, SDSU of course.
The Aztec Women’s Basketball team gave her signed boxing gloves, representative of the fight she’s faced. She keeps the pair in her office as a reminder.