LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - The Pink Heals organization travels the country celebrating individuals who have beat cancer, but a recent stop in East Texas provided the group an opportunity to celebrate a different kind of survivor.
The woman suffered burns over almost 80 percent of her body, and at one point almost decided to end it all. But her story is one of finding inspiration to live
Pink Heals volunteers pulled up to a Longview restaurant Friday to celebrate remarkable survivor Nadra Harper.
"'Her story just completely drew me in. She was able to defeat everything she came against," says Pink Heals member Steve Denfield.
Harper was caught off guard by the surprise.
"I was blown away. I mean little old me?" she says.
Nearly 80 percent of Harper's body was burned in a 1988 house fire. Harper had gone through years of skin grafts.
"It was a continuous process of growing it back, cutting it, growing it back cutting it. It was on and on and on. I had to start all over again. Learn how to walk, learn how to talk, how to feed myself," Harper says.
Harper says there even came a time when she thought of ending it all.
"I wanted to die. Not because of the pain but because of what it was doing to my family. My mom was out begging. I had suicidal thoughts," she says.
But something inside her would not quit, and thinking of her family changed everything.
"My kids. I would watch them every day get off the bus. I'm like I cannot go anywhere. I cannot leave my kids. My faith became stronger. I got a new attitude," Harper says.
Her friends weighed in on Friday's celebration, describing the impact it had on her.
"For the first time in years she felt like she could be loved, and was not too ugly or too burned to be loved," says friend Vicky Jones.
Harper has written a book about it called "The Warrior's Heart."
For anyone feeling sorry for themselves, Harper has this advice, "There are people that have it so much worse than you. So get up."
Harper's book is being released Nov. 4 at Silver Alley Event Hall in Gilmer. It will be available on Amazon and at Women's Health Boutique.