Mandy Gonzalez, a Jewish star of the Hamilton musical, revealed that she is fighting breast cancer, while still continuing to perform in the Broadway hit, according to Kveller.
"Yes, I have breast cancer. But it does not define me. I am a mother, a wife, a daughter, a friend, an actress, a squad leader. None of that changes," said Gonzalez to People magazine.
The Broadway star was diagnosed after an elective mammogram didn't came back clean.
"I don’t have a family history of breast cancer, and I had the option of whether to get a mammogram or not, because I was of the age,” said Gonzalez, 41, to People. “Because of the brave women that have surrounded me and shared their stories, and because breast cancer tends to impact Latina women at a younger age than the general population, I decided to get a mammogram.”
Gonzalez underwent surgery in November. She said that she was "very fortunate that they were able to catch it early. It's important for women to know that early detection is key. As a community, as a society, we need to figure out a way so that everyone has access to a mammogram."
The Jewish mom is continuing to play Angelica Schuyler in Hamilton, even as she's still undergoing treatment. Gonzalez has played Schuyler since 2016 in the Lin-Manuel Miranda production. She played Nina Rosario in Miranda's first Broadway musical In the Heights in 2008 and Elphaba in Wicked from 2010 to 2011. She debuted on Broadway as a standby for fellow Jewish Broadway star Idina Menzel in Aida.
"There are so many mothers and daughters and sisters, so many people out there who are going through this, and I want them to know that I stand with them," said Gonzalez. "We need to be comfortable talking about this. There is no shame. There is strength in sharing our stories and learning from one another."
Gonzalez wrote on Instagram about the diagnosis, saying "Over the course of my life, I have played many roles that I am very proud of: singer, actress, author, daughter, sister, wife, and mother. To this list I look forward to adding one more: Mandy Gonzalez, cancer survivor."
View this post on Instagram“Traveler there is no trail, the path is made by walking // Caminante, no hay camino, se hace camino al andar.” In May 2017, we embarked on an adventure together of #FearlessSquad. Since then, we have shared our hopes and dreams, celebrated our victories, and helped each other get up when we fall. We have been honest about our fears, knowing that courage lives best in community. It has been an honor to see how many lives we have been able to touch, and now I need all of you. What I'm about to tell you is scary for me. But that's what #FearlessSquad is all about. To face our fears … together. I have breast cancer. OK. I said it aloud. One less thing to fear. As you can imagine, I have a range of emotions – worry and anger, for sure, but also gratitude. Gratitude because along with millions of other brave people around the world, I will fight it. Over the course of my life, I have played many roles that I am very proud of: singer, actress, author, daughter, sister, wife, and mother. To this list I look forward to adding one more: Mandy Gonzalez, cancer survivor. There is no going back to the way things were before. I can only go forward, courageously with you. And I know I am not alone in this battle; as I go through this I am sending so much strength and love to others out there like me fighting this challenge. Keep going! We got this! Throughout treatment, I will continue the wonderful honor of playing Angelica Schuyler in Hamilton at the Richard Rodgers Theater. So #FearlessSquad I hope you’ll be by my side on this next journey. There will be times to laugh and times to cry. Happy or sad, they will be reminders that we can do anything together. With love and gratitude, Mandy xo
"There is no going back to the way things were before. I can only go forward, courageously with you. And I know I am not alone in this battle; as I go through this I am sending so much strength and love to others out there like me fighting this challenge. Keep going! We got this!" added the Hamilton actress.
Gonzalez was born to a Jewish mother and a Mexican-American father. She is mom to an 8-year-old daughter with painter Douglas Milini, according to Kveller.
As a child with a Jewish mother and Mexican father, I grew up celebrating both Easter & Passover. I feel so lucky to have grown up in such a warm, loving environment. Let’s Fear-Less and embrace our differences this weekend #FearlessSquad (Bat Mitzvah) pic.twitter.com/4w2U9BaKLq— Mandy Gonzalez (@_mandygonzalez) March 31, 2018
Her debut album, Fearless, contains a song written by Lin-Manuel Miranda about how her parents fell in love as pen pals during the Vietnam War. Her father was a soldier in the Vietnam War and corresponded with her mother as a pen pal. When he returned, he showed up on her doorstep, and, even though the families weren't happy with the marriage at first, they "brought peace to the family" eventually, Gonzalez told Bustle.