May 9, 2014 at 12:23 PM ET
Avery Harrison received the devastating news in January that she had stage four breast cancer. With her husband by her side, Harrison immediately called her mother, Lynne Hendrix, who provided constant support during her daughter’s treatment.
She held her Harrison’s hand, and asked questions at medical appointments that Harrison said she would never have thought to ask. Hendrix spent most weekends at the couple’s home to lend a big helping hand around the house, and tending to the couple’s 2-year-old daughter, Corrine.
“My mom became my angel, my strength,” Harrison, 38, wrote in an email TODAY that she read aloud in a taped segment that aired Friday. “She’s there without question, just handles everything — laundry, cleaning, cooking, babysitting — allowing me time to rest and recover.”
“I don’t think any words could be enough to tell my mom how great she is,” Harrison continued. “Thank you Mom. I love you to the moon and back.”
Harrison told her mom that they had won a contest to appear on TODAY Friday, and Hendrix didn’t know she was being honored as part of the show’s “Mom’s the Word” week of special surprises for deserving mothers.
Harrison gave her mother her own amazing surprise live on the show.
“Mom, I just wanted to share with you my recent test results,” an emotional Harrison said. “The doctor has said that my cancer is gone. My test results are normal and I did have my last chemo this week, so I’m done.”
“Praise the lord,” Hendrix said. “We give everything to the Lord. We’ve had prayers going up worldwide, and everybody’s been praying.”
TODAY’s Willie Geist asked Harrison what it was like having her mom by her side as she fought cancer.
“It’s been just amazing to have her,” she said. “She is my angel, my savior. She kept me positive this whole time and I really think her positivity instilled in me, helped me, with healing faster.”
Hendrix was moved by the loving way her daughter spoke about her.
“I’m very proud that I’ve been able to support her in this,” Hendrix said, holding her daughter’s hands. “I love her. I always knew she loved me a lot, but this was very special, very special.”
Noting that Harrison’s birthday is on Saturday, she gave her daughter a stack of note cards. She recorded each day since Harrison was diagnosed “so you can go back and remember little bits of joy.”
While Harrison had nominated her mother as the deserving mom, the TODAY hosts showered both women with gifts so they could spend some time together.
Geist gave them tickets to see “Mama Mia” on Broadway along with dinner in New York. Natalie Morales and Al Roker slipped fluffy white robes around their shoulders, as the duo found out they will be flying to the Cayman Islands to enjoy a spa vacation.
“Are you serious right now?” a stunned Harrison asked Geist. She and her mom hugged again, and Harrison said: “I love you, Mom.”
Lisa A. Flam is a news and lifestyles reporter in New York. Follow her on Twitter.