Dr. Erica Harris presenting at TEDx Brentwood College

Let me take you through my journey of fighting against cancer and for my life in this TEDx event organized at the Brentwoood College School.

Early symptoms: “In retrospect, there were definitely signs that something was wrong, but I completely missed putting them all together. I knew that I was really exhausted, but I just assumed that all young moms were equally as tired. I had extensive night sweats which I originally attributed to hormonal changes. I also had developed an intense rash on the surfaces of both hands and eyelids that was chalked up to eczema. It had not returned since my treatment years ago.”

You have cancer: “Hearing those words felt surreal. I remember sitting aghast in the doctor’s office and turned my gaze out the window. A vivacious woman walking along the sidewalk below had captured my attention as she greeting others happily. Her vim and vigor provided a fierce vision of what I held onto so tightly during my fight – walking energetically with all that vim and vigor I too had always had was my goal.”

Road to recovery: “After learning that my leukemia had established itself to be very aggressive, a worldwide search was conducted as my only brother proved not to be a bone marrow match. I am alive today only because of the kindness of a complete stranger halfway around the world. My donor, a young man from Germany lit my path with a fierce hope that I would get to live. This hope empowered me through all the complications that were to follow, even serving as a double lung transplant recipient three short years later. All of the trials and tribulations were too great for my once happy marriage to withstand.”

On life after cancer: “Cancer was a transformative experience for me. It has instilled blessings in my heart that I would have never otherwise had and it has created a profound gratitude for literally every moment. I feel as though it has given me my wings to fly. I get to be mama and I get to be my babies’ loudest cheerleader every step of the way!”

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