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TODAY   |  October 18, 2013

Lorna Luft battles cancer: I was terrified of chemo

Breast cancer warrior Lorna Luft, daughter of Judy Garland, visits Studio 1A to discuss her fight with cancer. Luft will take the stage with her half-sister Liza Minnelli for the first time in 20 years for a two night event to raise money for breast cancer research.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> she's the daughter of hollywood legend judy garland and made the career of her own.

>> now lorna luft decided to use her talent to pay it forward, reuniting with her sister liza minnelli for a two-night special event to raise money for breast cancer . it is the first time they're performing on stage together in 20 years.

>> good to see you, lorna.

>> thank you.

>> i know the first one was this past monday and the second one is this monday coming up. how did it go? because liza hurt herself in rehearsal, right?

>> she's fine and she's great and she's home and everything is fine.

>> she was going to be with us today, she sends her regrets.

>> it was an amazing experience. the audience was so with us and just an incredible -- it was a reception that i was taken aback by.

>> but you knew the audience was going to be there for you.

>> i did. but not to a point where it was definite. and to raise that amount of money, we raised over $120,000.

>> that's fantastic.

>> which is so wonderful.

>> we'll talk about why you raised this money. can we just go back to tony, back when you and your sister performed, so many years ago, and watch a little of that, okay, just to remember what it was like back then. let me tell you something sister, remember my name no twister going to steal you away my sister

>> i look at the hair color .

>> what hair color was that?

>> you're covered in pink for a reason. it was ten months ago that you found out that you had breast cancer .

>> yes.

>> tell us about that.

>> i found a lump. i knew something was wrong. but i was so terrified, i was so scared that i didn't do anything.

>> you were in denial.

>> i was a big river in egypt. i really was. and people would say, you got to go and you got to go do this. i said, no, i got to go to new york or london. i was so scared. i was so afraid.

>> you thought because there was no family history of it and you nursed your children, you would never have it.

>> never have it. then i found out i had it.

>> you had it bad.

>> i had stage 2a and a grade 3 tumor. so when i found out, i was lucky enough to have fantastic doctors who led me down the path of education. and once i found out about what i had, and that i was going to be fine, all right, i then put myself into taking care of my own health care . and it -- it's really -- it's eye opening. it's life altering, and then you have -- you're in charge of what you have to do. and once you get the education about what is happening to you, you are in control. and it gives you some --

>> sense of power?

>> a very big sense of power.

>> the funny thing, i remember when i was telling my boss, that i had it, i remember what he said. he said i know a lot of women with breast cancer and they have one thing in common. and i said what's that, he said they're still here. the diagnosis used to be -- i'm not saying it isn't terrible for a lot of women, but it used to be a death sentence.

>> it was so scary. when i had the -- when i found out i had to go through four months of chemotherapy, that terrified me because chemotherapy, of course, has, you know, side effects , but it has that look -- it has a reputation.

>> did you work through it? did you take off the four months while you had the chemo?

>> i took off the four months with the chemotherapy. i lost my hair, i lost, you know, everything, you know, my eyebrows, eyelashes, everything.

>> it comes back.

>> it comes back. i didn't know things. i found a website that was called tourdiva.com that had everything you could ever imagine for, you know, breast cancer survivors and while you're going through it and what was amazing is i didn't know about any of this. i would find things. i would find --

>> there is so much out there now.

>> we're so happy you're with us.

>> thank you for coming to see us.

>> give liza our love. have a great time on monday.