Today's Media Monday comes to us from Community Link AZ host Danielle Williams, who readers may know best as Diva Danielle, from her past work as co-host on Arizona Daily Mix or Power 92.3FM, as traffic anchor for iHeartMedia, as an entertainment field reporter for Arizona Entertainment Weekly or as host on Shop A to Z TV. Many also know that she is also battling stage 4 lung cancer despite being a nonsmoker, and shares about publicly and openly.
Where did you grow up?
I’m originally from Pittsburgh, but grew up in Northern California in the town of Fairfield.
How did you get interested and then your start in journalism?
I started my journalism career by accident. I won a radio contest in California when I was living in Salinas listening to my favorite radio station. I won a trip to the 2000 Grammy Awards and shared my experience on the radio. From there I started to pitch content to the radio station and I created a position as the on-air movie reviewer. I would share my movie reviews on the morning show before I went to work at my day job. The radio station was impressed with my natural on-air ability to engage the audience and they offered me a job, which I turned down three times. In the end I took them up on a position and started my broadcast career in radio. A year later I was offered a job opportunity to move to Phoenix and work as an on-air morning show cohost and entertainment reporter at Power 92.3FM, which back then was the Hip Hop station (now known as Power 98.3FM).
Share your journey from school to reporting?
My journey didn’t include a college education until years later. I was working in radio, freelance writing, hosting television programs and doing entertainment news as a raw talent hungry for opportunity. I volunteered and learned a lot of my skills along the way by just taking chances and creating content and opportunities for myself. In 2013, I decided to go to school and get my degree in journalism.
Might you share a little about your cancer fight?
I have always been an active person, exercising, eating healthy and taking care of myself. I’ve never smoked, I don’t drink alcohol or coffee. I knew something was wrong with my body when I started to lose weight and my back was in a lot of pain. Long story short, I had an MRI done on my spine and the day before Thanksgiving, November 21, 2018, my doctor told me I had stage 4 lung cancer and it had spread to my lower spine, my pelvis and the top of my right shoulder. It was in my bones. I was 94 pounds when I was diagnosed. CRAZY!! I chose to look at the positive side of this entire experience because I believe in the power of positive energy. Everything starts in the mind and I was on a mission to kill my cancer with kindness.
So I shared every aspect of my lung cancer journey as a nonsmoker. I would do Facebook live videos at my chemo appointments; I shared everything I was going through so people could understand my fight and journey. I did this all with a smile on my face and a positive outlook. I would get dressed up doing my hair and makeup for my doctor visits, blood work and chemo appointments. It helped me feel good. It also started a conversation and opened the door to so many wonderful blessings. I have been able to help motivate and inspire others dealing with a cancer diagnosis. I have been featured on local and national television programs, in health magazines and in a health video for the Mayo Clinic on the importance of exercising while going through your cancer journey.