WHO SHE IS: Samantha Harris, TV Host, Founder of Gotta Make Lemonade™
LOCATION: Los Angeles
SUCCESS STORY: Turned a difficult personal experience into a platform where others can share struggles and triumphs
WORK SCHEDULE: Varies from crazy insane to well-balanced with family time
KIDS: Josselyn, 7 & Hillary, 3
SANITY VICE: Oddly, Workouts
RECENT SMART READ: Eat To Lose, Eat To Win by Rachel Beller, M.S., R.D.
BEST TIME-MANAGEMENT TIP: Take a walk while on a conference call
GO-TO TECH: Motorola MotoX cell phone
On Making Lemonade…
1. Let me first say how glad and relieved I am to know you are healthy after a tough fight against breast cancer. How are you feeling?
Thank you for saying that because, yes, it has been quite a year. Thankfully, I am now cancer-free and feeling amazing. I am back to 100%!
2. I knew you long before you were the “Dancing with the Stars” and “Entertainment Tonight” star, and when we spoke the other day, you still sounded like Samantha from Minnesota. Do you still feel like her?
You are so cute, Stacey. Thanks for that. I do. Growing up in Minneapolis really grounded me and instilled in me a tremendous dedication to “family-first.” I love my career and am beyond grateful for the opportunities that have come, yet at the end of the day all I want is to curl up with my husband and kids to read bedtime stories.
3. You’ve been very open about your health this year — from diagnosis to double mastectomy — and now you are launching an amazing platform to help others share their triumphs in the face of adversity with Gotta Make Lemonade. Can you tell us how you and your husband came up with the idea and why?
In the days following my diagnosis, I felt physically and mentally anxious and heavy-hearted. So I made a decision to turn it around and chose to look at all of the journey going forward with a positive perspective. My husband, Michael, said, “Hey, when life gives you lemons, you gotta make lemonade.” He paused, then said, “Maybe we should do something with that.” A week later we’d bought the domain name and filed for federal trademark! The site also supports March of Dimes, Feeding America, EIF Revlon Run/Walk and Noreen Fraser Foundation for women’s cancer research.
4. The site just launched, but tell us about the kinds of submissions you’re getting.
As a breast cancer survivor myself, I have had many women reach out to me to share their strength through their journey. So we have a few very touching stories of survival and how they turned the diagnosis around for the better. Additionally, we have stories that are equally as compelling ranging from a woman who survived sexual assault and human trafficking here in the U.S. to a mother of an autistic son who wrote about it in a moving and truly inspiring play.
GottaMakeLemonade.com gathers people from many backgrounds and journeys who come together to share their triumphs, which sets the stage for incredible inspiration for others out there who may be dealing with something that they are not sure how to get to the other side of.
5. I remember very clearly when we graduated from college, your father — who was very sick at the time, also with cancer — stood up as you crossed the stage to accept your diploma. How has your experience as a cancer survivor and the daughter of someone who lost his battle influenced your desire to start a platform like this?
Just hearing you say that brings tears to my eyes. My dad was so loved by his three girls (my mom, sister, and me). He would be proud of this endeavor. Living through his battle was so painful. I remember thinking (when he was first diagnosed), that his sickness needs to have a purpose. Sadly, I never figured out what that purpose was. I am sure now, however, that my diagnosis does have one.
Do you or someone you know have an inspiring story to tell? Gotta Make Lemonade is open for submissions. Learn more about how to share your story!