HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Meet Annie Ford, a mother of two-step children and a 17-year breast cancer survivor that had rough moments after finding out she was diagnosed with cancer in 2000. Ford said that she was curious and confused at the time, but now has no issue with inspiring others battling the same fight.
"It was easy for me to go help other people and I enjoy doing that, anyone I know going through treatment I will help going through treatment," she said. "I offer my help to them if they need it."
Ford said that when she was told that she had breast cancer, she experienced many changes in her weight, hair and health.
"The chemo pulled my white blood counts down real low, all my hair came out but it has grown back fully," Ford said. "I been natural ever since my hair came out, I've been natural for 17 years, this my natural hair."
During her free time, she volunteers at the Forrest General Cancer Center in Hattiesburg, where she helps patients with their chemo and keeps them company.
"Try to encourage them to be strong, don't listen to the negative things people tell you, hold your head up and keep faith in God and just be strong," she said
Issac Boose is one of the people that Ford has helped. Ford has helped encourage Isaac to battle his fight against colon cancer when he was diagnosed in 2010. Today, he is an eight-year colon cancer survivor.
"Annie is a loving person, a caring person, she loves for people to do well," Boose said. "She's a positive person and I think that's what I get from her. To stay positive throughout the entire situation. To make sure to make my appointments and to practice self-care."
Ford worked closely with patients at the Forrest General Cancer Center.
Rick Boler, a pacer at the Forrest General Cancer Center, saw firsthand how Ford inspires others during chemo treatments.
"It helps when you have people like Annie who have been there who are the lesson and burden of the unknown," Rick said.
After eight doses of chemo and 33 days of radiation and nearly a year, on September 2001, Annie was considered a survivor of breast cancer.
"I have 17 years in as a survivor, and I thank God and I'm proud of my 17 years," Ford said. "If I live to see December, I'll have 18 years."
For Annie, it's living through experience, forming bonds with people and encouraging the ones who are having to go through the shuffling of life.