True Stories of Overcoming Adversity

"GMA" viewers share their experiences battling life's obstacles with Robin Roberts.
3:00 | 11/22/13

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Transcript for True Stories of Overcoming Adversity
I'm humbled every time someone comes up to me and says my journey somehow has inspired you. I want you to know, your story inspires me. And we asked you to send us your story. Telling us how you battled through adversity. Thousands wrote in, telling us how, in the words of my mother, everybody's got something. And that something did not defeat you. We're going to begin our new series with three, incredible "overcomers" who made their dream come true. I'm an overcomer. I'm an overcomer. Growing up in the faster care system, I heard I was not going to amount to anything. I was born into a single-parent home. Reporter: Shanice never knew her biological father. My biological mom dealt with substance abuse for years. It took over to the point where we were left home dies by ourself. The days we did eat, a lot of times because he went out to a neighbor's house and told them, we need food. Reporter: It was a situation that became dangerous and unsustainable. When I was 4 years old, I was put into the foster care program. Shanise was adopted at the age of 7. But was going from makeshift home to makeshift home. She was living in a car when she could no longer afford a motel. There were times when I was alone and praying to god. Please, just hug me. Just show me that you're here. Reporter: Now, 25 years old, shanise hamilton is thriving. A producer and on-air personality at a radio station in gainesville, florida. She has a simple message. There's going to be days when all you have is yourself. And you have to just believe that it's going to get better. Keep fighting. Keep moving. And keep praying. I'm an overcomer. I'm writing to you about my 18-year-old son, andrew. Andrew is our youngest son. He's the youngest of four. When he was born, they told us that he had a congenital heart defect. Basically, he was born with half of his heart. They gave us a 50% chance, they told us, of making it to the age of 5. Reporter: But somebody forgot to tell andrew that. They told us he would not be able to keep up with other kids. He probably would not be able to run or play any sports. Reporter: That precious little boy with half a heart had boundless energy and was fearless. Playing soccer, baseball, as a youngster, he excelled. But when andrew said he wanted to try out as a kicker on the football team, they weren't so sure. We got the okay from his doctor. We got the okay from the coach, that he would be willing to do this for andrew. I had never kicked a football before in my life. I just thought I would do it. And it turned out I was decent at it. Reporter: A high school teammate was told andrew had half a heart, came up with a clever nickname. Oh, my god. You're tinman. The name stuck. He was recruited as the kicker for boston university. If you told me I was going to be a college football player, i would just laugh. He may have been born with half a heart. But for me, he's got the biggest heart of anybody I've ever known. I'm an overcomer. My story is a love story. One that should pass with time, life and death. J.J. Rose, the love of my life. I met him when I was 18 years old. We ended up going to college together. Reporter: But fate, threw the couple an unexpected curve. At 23 years old, when we graduated college, he started getting headaches. Reporter: J.J. Was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Thankfully, it was benign. But after surgery, prognosis was good. Three years later, the unthinkable. There was another tumor. It was one of the most aggressive types of brain cancer. And they diagnosed him terminal. And they gave him a year. They recommended, the slight chance that he survives and he wanted to have children in the future, that we would have to freeze his sperm before starting chemotherapy. Reporter: Lori and j.J. Eloped to the bahamas. But the cancer was unrelenting. The cancer turned to talk to the reality of a life that may not be shared. We made promises to each other. I don't know how it's going to happen. But I'm having your babies. Reporter: In december of 2003, j.J. Passed away. Seven years after his passing, I met the second love of my life. Reporter: A new journey. And lori's wife, kat, was more than willing to help her keep her promise to her first love. Eight months ago. We're expecting our little boy. This is my ultimate promise to him. And it's finally coming true. I'm an overcomer. Reporter: Three, inspiring individuals. Three, remarkable stories. One undeniable thing in common, "overcomers." Thanks to mandisa for that beautiful song. Those "overcomers" are with us this morning. Shanise, andrew, with his mother, and joining us from los angeles, is lori, because you're so pregnant, your doctor won't let you fly. How are you doing, lori? How far along are you? I'm 33 weeks right now. How excited are you to be a first-time mom? I'm so excited. I mean, being a first-time mom as it is, is exciting. But to know I have this little miracle inside of me, part of j.J., Is amazing. I know you feel that way. I wish you could be with us. I'm glad you're following doctors' orders. Shanise I've been looking forward to meeting you. Me, as well. I know there's been some really tough days. And your faith is very important to you. Yes. What did you say or do those days when you thought, it's just not going to happen for you? I prayed. I cried, many days. Many, many, days. And I continued to pray. Cried out to god. I was mad at him. Why is this happening? Why? But I prayed. You just needed a hug from him. Yes. I just asked god, please, just show me you're here. I need you to be here. Hug me. And I got it. You did. And I got it. Andrew, love you with the purple on. You, too. My goodness. I'm telling you, you said sometimes what inspired you was you would do something a little outside your comfort zone. I like to try new things to prove to people you can do whatever you want. When I want to do something, i don't say can I do this? I say how am I going to do it? And you have half a heart. I know, sherry, you've been tearing up the whole time. You were the one who wrote and told us about andrew. For those parents who are sitting at home and they have a child who has a challenge, what do you say to them? I never let andrew know he had problems. I kept a lot inside. And I think you have to keep going. You have to put your faith in the doctors. And at home, I took care of his mind. You know, keeping him happy and not letting him know there are any boundaries for him. And this is what I got. That's great advice. And who knew you were such a good kicker? I didn't even know. And, lori, I also you made a promise that you were going to go to school, and become a veterinarian. And you are. You're a vet now. And you're about to have the baby. What is your advice to someone who is sitting at home and think they cannot, too, be an overcomer like you? I think the most important thing is just accept the fact that life is not fair. And I think once we accept that, we'll be okay. I think, importantly, too, is not to compare yourself to other people. People are going to have it easier. But there's always going to be someone out there that's going to have it harder. When we go through something, we have to really take the piece of the -- walking through that darkness and believing that there's going to be light. You may not be able to see the light. But there's going to be light. And take what you can from that darkness, whether it's always something to learn. There's always something to grow from. And you just have to take it because if you don't, then that suffering is worth nothing. That's right. That's not the tragedy. The tragedy is not taking time to understand the meaning of what you're going through. Andrew and shanise, what is your piece of advice so others can overcome? Find good in the process. In the journey, we're going to have obstacles. You're going to have ups and downs. Hold on to the one thing that's -- one thing that can get you through, no matter what it is. Hold on to it. And keep pushing, always. And you, andrew? There's always a reason for everything. So, you just got to take what you got and go run with it. That's it. Or kick it. Or kick it. That's right. Thank you, all. Sherry, thank you so much for writing in. Shanise, so happy for you. Lori, as josh would say, mazal tov. He says that to everyone. You're all overcomers. And we thank you. Thank you, guys. Continue to write in. Let us know your story so we can help one another become overcomers.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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