BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Dr. Loretta Harris lives her life like any other proud grandmother, but her journey was far from normal. She was diagnosed with breast cancer at 21-years-old, beginning her 40 year fight for life.
"At that age it was devastating because my mother died with breast cancer at age 36 and I was the first child following her death to develop breast cancer," said Harris.
It was a hard time for Harris, especially after losing her mother. However, she managed to find strength.
She pursued an education in cosmetology, eventually receiving her Ph.D. That led to her passion in fashion and design, but life threw in a twist. A decade later, she was forced to face a familiar diagnosis.
"If I let you do a mastectomy on me the first time, then will this ever come back again? And his statement was to me, 'If it comes back, it'll be back in 10 years.' In 10 years flat it came back."
Despite receiving that news for a second time, she continued to follow her dreams in beauty and fashion. She traveled the country and bumped shoulders with many celebrities. Things seemed to be going well, until she was diagnosed with stomach cancer in 2017.
"On my third round, it startled me for a minute because I just knew I couldn't get it again. I knew I was cured. I just said, 'Well Lord, it happened once. It happened twice, you saved me and kept me. With a third round you can do it, if it's your will.'"
Her strength and agreeing to receive treatments again helped put the disease into remission earlier this year. Her friends and family honored her Sunday night for her ability to keep going. She has a few words for anyone going through the same thing.
"Take your treatments. Go to the doctor. Do what the doctors and nurses tell you to do. Take care of your body and lean and depend on the master, because when you lean and depend on God, you don't have nothing to worry about."