LOCKPORT, NY - If you glance at her face, you will think Mercedes Holloway is a free-spirit young woman. When you hear her speak you quickly learn that she is a survivor.
Holloway, 30, was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 28. There was no family history of the cancer, "I remember thinking initially, they got it wrong. It can't be me."
She battled through the tough treatments and is cancer-free. The mother of two has a different journey in life all because of breast cancer.
She founded an organization called For Our Daughters. "The mission is enriching women's lives so we can in turn educate our children," said Holloway. The program is being developed with high school girls and is funded in part by the WNY Affiliate of Susan G. Komen.
It is peer leadership at its best. The program will require young ladies from select schools to " come up with a curriculum and work with the physical education and health teachers to help their peers."
Part of the program will require physical fitness, including Zumba and healthy eating for healthy living.
According to the CDC, from 2005-2009, the breast cancer death rate for African-American women is 41% higher than white women.
Mercedes introduced For Our Daughters to a girls gym class at Lockport High School. She was amazed and brought to tears by the response. Teens opening up about cancer in their lives and wanting to make a change to live.
Watch Claudine Ewing's report and hear Mercedes story on life before and after breast cancer.
In March, she'll participate in a Zumba-thon in Buffalo.