SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - It's Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the Lia Auto Group Surprise Squad is giving back to a Springfield mom that's battling the deadly disease and that's not her only struggle.

On the morning of her surgery, she woke up to another disaster, losing everything she owns minutes before heading to the hospital, which is why we're paying her a visit.

"Just keep moving forward," Springfield resident Lorraine De Souza tells us. "You don't know  what life's going to throw at you."

In February, Lorraine De Souza was diagnosed with an aggressive form of Stage Two breast cancer, a battle she knows all too well.

"Both my sisters and my mom had breast cancer," said Lorraine. "My youngest sister got it when she was thirty-two."

"It was surreal," Lorraine's daughter Natasha Robinson told us. "I was like, not again."

Her daughter, Natasha, was there for it all.

"She's never one to complain," said Natasha. "She just gets things done."

Doctors scheduled to remove the cancerous mass on March, 28th.

"And that was, you know," continued Lorraine. "A big thing as well."

Around 4 on the morning of her surgery, Lorraine heard crackling outside.

What happened next was unimaginable, a fire that lit up Lorraine's back porch.

"It was big," stated Lorraine. "Everything was a total loss. A lot of smoke damage so I just left and went and had my surgery."

The Sunnybrook Road home sustained $274,000 in damages.

Lorraine, homeless and out of work, while talking on chemo.

"I'm two weeks shy of short term disability," said Lorraine. "I didn't have insurance."

Now, the chemo is over, but daily radiation has begun.

Although she's not back home, she is back to work.

"I drive big trucks," says Lorraine. "Eighteen-wheelers so I do daily deliveries of items. In and out of the truck is hard. It's tiring."

"Her determination always makes me feel like I can get through anything," said Natasha.

As a way to turn things around, Baystate had nominated her for the Lia Auto Group Surprise Squad, who brought not only flowers, but brand new cooking and gardening tools.

"I love gardening," stated Lorraine. "I do. I had made these boxes for gardening, but they caught on fire as well."

Well, the Surprise Squad had an extra treat for her with $500 towards landscaping her garden so she can make it beautiful, as well as a new gas grill.

"Thank you," stated Lorraine. "You guys are the best."

Stephen A. Roberts Landscape is helping with the yard and has also matched the Surprise Squad's $500 donation.

Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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