D'Andra's Story

My Mission, My Vision, My Passion!


D'Andra Simmons

How It All Started


It was March of 1987. I was preparing to embark on a journey every teenager looks forward to – high school graduation and college. As I eagerly anticipated the beginning of what I considered to be the rest of my life, I received the news that my mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer. On March 15, instead of celebrating my 18th birthday, I spent the day caring for my mom as she recuperated from a modified radical mastectomy and reconstructive surgery. I will always remember this time as one of the darkest, most frightening periods in my life.


My mother was the picture of health. Tall, thin, and a former model, she never had a cold in her life. We never dreamed she would be diagnosed with cancer. Back then, cancer was still hidden in the shadows; it was not something people talked about. It was commonly referred to as the big "C". Those who have received a diagnosis of cancer or those who have known someone with such a diagnosis understand that this news is devastating. The question is always…why did this happen?


The Search for Answers


As a result of her battle with breast cancer, my mother became interested in alternative health and nutrition. She stunned the doctors by choosing not to follow her mastectomy with chemotherapy and radiation. Instead, she decided to take her chances with what was a mysterious and somewhat unknown phenomenon at the time: the world of holistic nutrition, herbology, and alternative therapies.


The next few years of my mother's life were spent traveling the world with my father, learning everything about juicing, and exploring the benefits of herbal remedies and the importance of detoxification. As my mother gained knowledge, she discarded many of the nutritional truths she had learned during her life. I was part of each new discovery, as we searched for knowledge and the “secrets” to staying healthy and cancer free.


Five years after my mother's diagnosis, my grandmother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and died one month after her diagnosis. Knowing that there was nothing I could do, even though I was armed with a wealth of knowledge, was frightening. Five years later, my grandfather was diagnosed with prostate and bone cancer. As in my grandmother’s case, we found that we could not save him. These experiences taught me that cancer is indiscriminate.


Light at the End of the Tunnel


My mother's sister was diagnosed with breast cancer thirteen years ago and lived. She adopted a host of holistic therapies and continues to follow the regimen my mother provided.


Today, I am happy to report that my mother remains cancer free, and her quest for saving her own life has become a mission to save others. In 1996, after years of counseling cancer patients who came to her for advice and even serving as a spokesperson for a nutritional company, my mother decided to start her own nutrition and skin care company, Ultimate Living International, Inc. Since I enjoyed working with my mother from time to time, I decided to join her company full time in 2004. After several years of pursuing other career opportunities, I had finally come full circle, realizing that Ultimate Living was my destiny.


I remain the only woman on my mother's side of the family who has not been struck by cancer. I am still young, and the real test begins over the next 10 to 15 years, as I struggle to keep myself purged of free radicals and sustain my immune system.


I am determined to be a survivor, rather than a statistic. Like my mother, I have decided to dedicate my life to helping others live cancer free and work toward optimum wellness and healing. Knowledge is power. Therefore, I continue to further my education and pursue in-depth research. Our goal at Ultimate Living is to remain at the forefront of alternative medicine, continuing to develop cutting edge nutritional products.


I pledge to keep my mother's mission and passion alive throughout the next few decades and to continue the legacy of a woman who turned her vision into a victory.