Darla Jaye, from The Woodlands, was diagnosed with breast cancer in February and immediately began radiation treatment.
Monday, July 15, marked her final radiation appointment at Harris Health Systems in Houston, which meant Jaye could finally ring the bell, reported ABC 13.
A hospital worker filmed her joyously ringing the bell, until the clapper breaks off and goes flying through the air.
Jaye was diagnosed with a breast tumor and said she ‘was scared to death’ when she learned the news.
One out of every eight American women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during her lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society.
More than 268,000 cases are estimated be diagnosed in 2019 and more than 41,700 will die.
It is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, behind lung cancer. Breast cancer does also occur in men but the incidence rate is less than one percent.
Jaye believed she would need to undergo chemotherapy, but doctors decided on 30 radiation treatments instead, the last of which was on Monday.
Video shows Jaye excitedly ringing the bell for about three seconds before the clapper accidentally detaches and is flung across the hallway.
She exclaims: ‘I broke the bell!’ and bursts out laughing as she retrieves the clapper from the floor.
Jaye then looks under the bell to see if there is a way for her to reattach it before a hospital staff member tells her it can be fixed.
‘I was like: “Oh my God, I broke the bell!”‘ she told ABC 13. ‘I thought, you know, I didn’t think I had any strength left in me, but obviously I do!’
The tradition of ringing a bell when cancer treatment is completed began at MD Anderson Cancer Center in 1996.
It was installed by Navy Rear Admiral Irve Le Moyne, once the highest-ranking Navy Seal in the US – who was diagnosed with head and neck cancer.
‘When you hear the words: “You have cancer,” the first thing you think of is: “Am I going to die?”‘ Jaye told Fox 26 Houston.
‘The second thing you think of is: “What am I going to go through?”‘
She said that during her first radiation treatment, tears rolled down her cheeks, but she hopes she can now inspire other cancer patients.
‘I never imagined that I would make it through those 30 treatments and be able to ring that bell,’ Jaye said.
‘So…when I rang that bell, I was celebrating that I was alive and that I was essentially done for now.’