A diagnosis as serious as cancer could stop anyone in their tracks. Not Trina Taylor Isaac. She's a mom from Baltimore who is showing others how to live, and even thrive, in the face of adversity.
"It's hard for me to be negative about anything because I'm very blessed and I'm probably the happiest I've ever been in my life," she said.
Diagnosed in April 2012, Isaac has stage four colorectal cancer, but she's living life to the fullest. In between chemo treatments, she holds a full-time job, is a mom, and she volunteers. Her motto is "Make Memories on Purpose" or MMOP.
"Be purposeful in the things that you're doing," she said. "Love and then love even harder."
Because of her cancer, Isaac has a permanent colostomy. It's a surgical opening where waste can leave her body and is collected in pouches. She's a member of the "Osto Beauties," a Baltimore-area group formed to spread awareness of women of color living with ostomies. She also serves as ambassador for Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center's Hope Project.
"That allows me to speak to first day chemo patients to kind of give them an understanding of what to expect during chemo," Isaac said.
Most recently, she added international fashion model to her long list of titles. Boston-based designer Luna Joachim discovered Isaac after seeing her photo on Facebook. Isaac had just lost all of her hair from starting a new chemo regimen.
"I posted a picture, because my cousin has lupus, with purple lipstick on and I just said, 'Support lupus awareness,' she said. "A lady by the name of Luna Joachim, she saw my picture and asked if I would be willing to walk in her fashion shows."
Before she knew it, Isaac was walking the catwalk in front of industry bigwigs during New York Fashion Week, ostomy bag and all. Two months later, she was on a plane to Paris for Joachim's show in France.
"I call her my fairy godmother now," Isaac said of Joachim. "Because she made a dream come true for me that I never in a thousand years would have thought of. No, I would have never thought that."
Isaac continues to model, but more than anything, it's being a role model to her son and others going through difficult times that brings her the most satisfaction.
"I just hope that me talking about it and me being able to share my story that it will help someone who just didn't want to get up this morning," she said. "To see that I have stage four colorectal cancer, but it does not have me."
Isaac has two more big things on her bucket list. She'd like to meet supermodel Tyra Banks and R&B singer Brian McKnight.