Family, Self

Daughter Who Battled Breast Cancer Honors Beloved Mother


In January, with her husband by her side, Avery Harrison received the shattering news that she had stage four breast cancer. She immediately called her mother, Lynne Hendrix, to deliver the news.

Lynn served as a constant support system throughout her daughter's treatment — she held her hand, asked the doctors questions that Avery says she would have never thought to ask and devoted herself to helping out around the house and tending to their two-year-old daughter, Corrine. Lynn showed her daughter endless, unconditional love.

Avery, 38, wrote an email to TODAY, which she read aloud on in a taped segment that aired this past May. "My mom became my angel, my strength," she read. "She's there without question, just handles everything — laundry, cleaning, cooking, babysitting — allowing me time to rest and recover. I don't think any words could be enough to tell my mom how great she is. Thank you Mom. I love you to the moon and back."

Little did her mom know, she was being honored as a part of TODAY's "Mom's the World" week (a week of special surprises for deserving mothers). But that wasn't the only surprise Avery had in store for her amazing mom.

"Mom I just wanted to share with you my recent test results," she said live on TODAY, "The doctor has said that my cancer is gone. My test results are normal and I did have my last chemo this week, so I'm done."

"Praise the lord," said Lynn. "We give everything to the Lord. We've had prayers going up worldwide, and everybody's been praying."

Avery told TODAY's Willie Geist that her mom's positivity helped her to heal faster. Lynn is just "very proud that I've been able to support her in this" and that Avery's loving words are "very special."

Because Avery’s birthday is on Friday, her mom had a little surprise for her too: a stack of notecards recording each day since Avery's diagnosis "so you can go back and remember little bits of joy."

Are you crying yet?

TODAY showered both women with gifts. Geist handed them tickets to see "Mamma Mia" (fitting, don’t ya think?) along with dinner in Manhattan. Natalie Morales and Al Roker gave them white, fluffy robes. Why? Because they, as they found out live on TODAY, will be flying to the Cayman Islands for a spa vacation!

"Are you serious right now?" Avery asked Geist, shocked. "I love you, Mom," she said as she hugged Lynn.