Samantha Harris to speak at Vail Breast Cancer Awareness Group luncheon | VailDaily.com

Samantha Harris to speak at Vail Breast Cancer Awareness Group luncheon

Life threw lemons at Samantha Harris because she makes the best lemonade.

Harris is known as an entertainment news journalist and for jobs co-hosting "Dancing with the Stars" and "Entertainment Tonight."

She's also a cancer survivor.

"No matter what the challenge, you can try to find the lemonade in it and make it a better situation," the wife and mother of two said.

Harris, 42, is more than a survivor of cancer — she's thriving.

After her first mammogram at age 40, which came back clear, Harris found a lump on her breast. She went for further testing, which also came back clear. Four months later, with the lump still present, she stayed persistent and got it checked again.

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This time, she heard the words no one ever wants to hear. She was diagnosed with breast cancer, and being in the public's eye, she considered whether she should share the news with the world.

"When I thought for a moment that there might be a woman walking around with a lump in her breast who wasn't getting it checked out, I wanted to share my story," Harris said, "and I'm glad I did."

Now, Harris is spreading her message and will be the guest speaker at the Vail Breast Cancer Awareness Group's annual Celebration of Life Luncheon on Wednesday.

"What my lemonade was, and is now, is about finding my healthiest healthy," Harris said.

As a certified personal trainer, Harris was in as good of shape as she could be for being 40 years old.

"To be struck down by something like cancer was an eye opener, to say the least," she said.

So now, Harris is creating a healthier home for her husband and two daughters. That includes what they eat, what they put on their skin, what they clean with and more.

"I'm creating my healthiest home, my healthiest body, my healthiest mind and discovering my healthiest healthy," she said.

As part of her goal to bring awareness to breast cancer, Harris launched gottamakelemonade.com, a website inspiring positivity in the face of adversity.

"Life comes with so many challenges, not only illnesses like cancer, but everything from relationship woes to job failures and the little things that can knock us down," Harris said. "It's more than just how you get up, it's also about what you do with that and what you turn that into."

Harris will be extending her trip to the Vail Valley to go ziplining and hiking and have other outdoor adventures.

"We fell in love with Colorado in the summer," she said. "I've been looking forward to this trip for an entire year."

Harris will be available after the luncheon to meet attendees, and she'll have some of her Gotta Make Lemonade T-shirts.

The Vail Breast Cancer Awareness Group has come a long way since Betty Ford supported the organization in 1994, when she modeled in a fashion show for the new group.

It is made up of 10 volunteers who have raised more than $1 million for people battling breast cancer in Eagle County. All of the money raised at the Celebration of Life Luncheon stays in Eagle County.

Everyone diagnosed with breast cancer receives $500 to relieve the stress of treatment, courtesy of the Day to Play program, and $50 is given to each child whose mother is undergoing treatment.

The Celebration of Life Luncheon takes place Wednesday at the Vail Marriott Mountain Resort in Lionshead Village, with the silent auction kicking things off at 11 a.m. and Harris addressing the crowd later. Tickets are $125 and support the Vail Breast Cancer Awareness Group's mission.

"She's very inspirational in that she overcame it all, moved on and is so positive," said Brenda Himelfarb, of the Vail Breast Cancer Awareness Group.

Reporter Ross Leonhart can be reached at 970-748-2915 and rleonhart@vaildaily.com. Follow him on Instagram at colorado_livin_on_the_hill.

If you go …

What: Vail Breast Cancer Awareness Group’s 22nd anniversary Celebration of Life Luncheon, with guest speaker Samantha Harris.

When: Wednesday, July 13. Silent auction begins at 11 a.m.

Where: Vail Marriott Mountain Resort, 715 W Lionshead Circle, Lionshead Village.

Cost: $125.

More information: For tickets to the luncheon, call 970-479-8595. For information about Samantha Harris, visit gottamakelemonade.com.