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Daphne Harris is a cancer survivor who was diagnosed 15 years ago.

Paris native Daphne Harris, 56, is not the type of woman to complain. But she does want people informed about checking for breast cancer.

While she said initially the lumps in her breast were not physically painful, the emotional toll is. So she wants everyone to check regularly for lumps.

“Lumps in the breast are not always painful when they are cancerous though, so if you find one get it checked out immediately,” Harris said.

Harris has been cancer free now for over 15 years by “the grace of God,” and wants nothing more than for women to be made aware of how easy it could happen to others through her testimony of survival.

Harris came across a lump in her breast 20 years ago when her children were still small and she was a full-time employee of Sara Lee, the factory that is now J Skinner in Paris. She was in the shower and felt something a little smaller than an egg that was movable.

“I remember them telling me after I got there that if it is movable that's a sign it might be cancerous and you need to go get checked out,” she said.

“All I could think was that I had to make it through this experience for my kids, I’m all they’ve got” said Harris of her journey.

She went to Texas Oncology here in Paris and was eventually diagnosed and treated by the late Dr. Toby Don Crumpler whose office was across the street from the oncology center.

“He was a great doctor,” Harris said.

They removed the malignant cells through biopsy and Harris had six chemo and six radiation treatments over the course of the next six months, all through Texas Oncology in Paris.

On Aug. 26 she heard the sweetest words ever “we got it all” from Dr. Crumpler.

“Aug. 26 is an emotional day for me. On that day I think about all the people that got me through it when I felt out of my mind at the time, like my sister that worked at the doctor's office who would always call and remind me of my appointments. I also had a strong support system at work because there were other women there going through breast cancer at the same time as me so that support system was important. I still talk to those ladies all the time,” said Harris.

The financial burden of living on just the insurance took a toll since I had to take off work for over a year but in the end I came out stronger for my kids through my faith and prayer. It was my kids and God's grace that kept me,” Harris said.

Jessica Waller is a staff writer for The Paris News. She can be reached at 903-785-6965.

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