GREENVILLE, Pitt County - Brittany Gregory used to have long black hair.
"It just got to the point where it was like it's not my hair anymore, it will grow back," she said.
A picture taken of her before she turned 21 showed off her long locks. A few weeks later, she learned she had breast cancer.
"The beginning, I feel like, was more hard for me because I didn't know what to expect. and there was a lot of hospital visits, getting pricked and poked and just like everyone was looking and observing you," Gregory said.
She was diagnosed with stage 2 invasive ductal carcinoma on May 19, 2017. A little more than a month later, she had a double mastectomy. After the surgery, she fought an infection that left her in the hospital for five nights.
Surgery wasn't enough.
"Mine was low but high risks and since I'm so young, they were like 'we really recommend you do chemo' because you could get a 10 percent chance of getting it in your brain or lungs, somewhere where its not curable," Gregory said.
On Aug. 30, she began treatment.
"I was like 'I'm not gonna let this defeat me,' like 'I'm going to be strong, and get through this and fight through it' and having a positive mindset has helped me 100 percent," Gregory said.
Gregory wants to encourage others based off what she's learned during this journey. She's not slowing down in the classroom either. The East Carolina University senior has enrolled in 14 hours of classwork so she can graduate with a degree in elementary education in May.
"Focus on like where you want to go in life and who you want to be as a person and learn to like love yourself," Gregory said.