NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A Staten Island mother is thankful to be alive this holiday after surviving her third bout with cancer.

That didn’t stop her from hosting Thanksgiving and sharing a special message with her family.

As CBS2’s Lisa Rozner reported, Lisa Mercante is possibly one of the most thankful Thanksgiving hosts around. A few years ago, she was diagnosed with lymphoma for the second time. While in chemotherapy, she also broke her leg and was unable to stand.

This year, the illness returned again.

“I said to myself, ‘I have to be strong,’” Mercante told Rozner.

She told her husband, Ralph, to tend to their two sons before visiting her in the hospital.

“Going through chemo, she wanted me to fulfill every baseball game,” he said, choking back tears. “Every obligation for my children came first.”

Last month, Mercante was given a clean bill of health and her gratitude is contagious.

“Even last night, running around doing my last minute stuff, I said, ‘You know, I’m not going to complain about the long lines. I’m lucky I’m on the line,’” she said.

She also said she’s lucky to make baked brie bites she found on Facebook.

“Delicious food, singing to my niece for her birthday – she just turned 13,” she said.

The family spent a lot of time preparing this year’s meal, but there’s also a great deal of thought that went into the holiday, including pieces of paper that guests found on their plates.

“Everyone’s plate has a little card that says, ‘What are you thankful for?’” explained Mercante.

“What I’m most thankful for is through everything we’ve been through, we’re still together,” Ralph said.

As tough as it’s been, he said focusing on the turkey helps distract from the tears.

“I’m fine. Once I smell the turkey, I’ll be back to normal,” he said.

The family is stuffed with food, love and life this Thanksgiving.

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