Posted 5 years ago

Comedian battles cancer with a positive attitude

I always say, “I have cancer, but cancer doesn’t have me.”


“The day before Thanksgiving. My doctor called me into his office. He says, ‘I have to tell you. You have stage 4 lung cancer and it’s spread to your lower back, your pelvis and it’s sitting on the top of your right shoulder,” said Williams. “It was almost like, he’s speaking to the wrong person. He’s got somebody else’s chart. These are not mine.”

A shock, considering Williams has never smoked and has lived a healthy life with exercise and eating right.

Since the diagnosis, Williams has undergone back surgery and radiation treatment. Now she receives chemotherapy every three weeks at the Ironwood Cancer and Research Centers. Treatment coupled with a scary diagnosis can be physically and emotionally devastating, often breaking one’s spirit.

Not Danielle Williams. Who is also known as Diva Danielle, a stand-up comedian who performs throughout the Valley.

Comedians often turn negatives into positives with a sense of humor. Williams who has always had a positive attitude is using it to help her fight cancer.

“I always say, ‘I have cancer, but cancer doesn’t have me,’” says Williams.

Accompanied by her mother Maggie and friend Diane Brennan trips to the chemotherapy often look like a lunch date. Upbeat and fun energy.

“If you make a good day out of it—it makes it that much better,” said Williams.

She even dresses up for chemo treatments.

“I love to wear my wigs. I will put on my good wig. I do my makeup. It just makes me feel good,” said Williams. “You got to look cute. I’m in the medical area. You never know – there could be a hot doctor coming around that corner. I got to be ready.”

Diva Danielle’s comedy usually revolves around every day relatable material. Like, dating and relationships.

Now she’s posting updates and her cancer experience on YouTube called “Diva Danielle living with stage 4 lung cancer.”

“I put my positive affirmations out there. It helps me, and this is how I’ve always lived my life. So, I want to keep doing what I’ve always done and not let this get the best of me. I hope it can brighten someone’s day. I think if I share it. You never know who is going to see it and who it can help,” said Williams.

For now, Williams has put her stand up on hold until she recovers, but she looks forward to getting back on stage.

It’s often said that comedy can come from pain and Diva has plenty of new material to fill a comedy club.

“Just to share my stories of what I’ve been going through and have some fun,” said Williams.

Her friend Diane has set up a Gofundme page to help cover her medical costs.

This story is courtesy of 12 News AZ. Danielle is a patient of Dr. Kukunoor at the Scottsdale location.

About Ironwood Cancer & Research Centers

Ironwood Cancer & Research Centers (ICRC) is the largest multi-specialty oncology network in the Greater Metro Phoenix area. They have over 100 medical providers, a robust Integrative Services program and a dedicated clinical research department. Ironwood Cancer & Research Centers has 15 valley locations and five comprehensive cancer care centers that offer a multi-disciplinary approach for expedited personalized patient care. For more information, please visit our website at