Mornings are always bustling on the KOMO 4 Morning News set. For the past five years, anchors Kelly Koopmans, Seth Wayne and Paris Jackson have been a tight knit team. But what viewers might not realize is that friendship they see on screen doesn't stop at the end of the work day.
"I think what makes us so real is that we are good friends," said Wayne.
"Life happens and we've been there for each other," adds Jackson. And Koopmans sums it up: "Life has happened in a lot of different ways."
From wearing matching Seahawks sweaters to weekend adventures, to weddings and the birth of Jackson's baby Hendrix, this trio truly cares for each other.
Last winter, Jackson needed her work family more than ever when life threw her a curve ball.
"My son was over a year, and I had known that there was a lump there [in my breast]," she said. "I had just assumed that was normal."
Jackson went in to get a mammogram and a biopsy. And by now, it was the beginning of December.
"That's when I got a call. It was either the first or second of December and I was told I have breast cancer," she said. "I was just in shock."
It was Christmastime. Reeling from the news, Jackson and her husband Chris decided to focus on the spirit of the season with their little one.
"I'm holding the baby, and it's like - what do you do?" she said. "So we got ourselves together - and he took some time and he came back and we just put on a good face."
The couple told each other they were going to try and enjoy the moment.
"I had a little baby and this would be his second Christmas coming up so it was like - I can't crumble," she said.
Jackson decided to keep the news to herself in the short term.
"I wanted to get through the holidays. All focus is on the holidays."
But she had to let her KOMO family know. And sharing that news was difficult.
"Immediately I broke down," said Wayne. "Because never in my wildest dreams did I even think I'd be going through that with such a close co-worker. But I think, as we both cried tears, we just thought 'Ok. We're gonna get through this.'"
She told Koopmans next, right before a newscast - she just couldn't keep it to herself.
"I remember that day - I knew that something was up, I didn't know exactly what it was," said Koopmans. "She didn't want to talk about it at that point - she was like 'I just gotta get through this afternoon' and so I came to see her before the show. I don't even know why I get emotional about it - because it's not me but when you just care about someone and you know they've got this whole life and brand new baby boy and you just love them...and to know they're going through something like that is tough on everyone."
Jackson went in for her first treatment in January, but things got even worse.
"My very first chemo I had an allergic reaction to it," she said. "So I ended up in the hospital for five days and I think that was my lowest point - because they didn't know what was wrong. "When the doctors are looking at each other like 'What's going on here?'"
She was on oxygen, and could barely walk, and barely talk.
"I had to call on my faith and of course that's what I've been doing during this whole period but I believe in the power of prayer," said Jackson.
That's when she made her very private battle public, and let viewers know. She shared her health crisis on Facebook, and asked for prayers.
"I wrote a post in the hospital bed and I just wanted more people - I felt that if I could have more people talking to God for me, then he could move the situation and they could figure out what was wrong with me."
She wasn't prepared for what happened next.
"[An] overwhelming response from strangers," Jackson said. "That is to me, the beauty in sharing my story is that you just never know what other people are going through or what other people are willing to do or say for you at your weakest point."
She was floored, grateful, thankful and overwhelmed.
"That even made me cry, because I felt the love and I felt that God, you know he's always, in the mist but that I saw his face in other people's words."
After five long days, her doctors realized Jackson was having an allergic reaction to her chemotherapy. The news only made her more determiner to beat cancer.
"I [knew] would survive this but it's just gonna be a long road," she said. "Hendrix was the top of my mind during this time at all times, him and my husband were the reasons I can't crumble. I have to fight this and I have to continue on."
Jackson asked her husband to shave her head, and at first - she wore a wig to work.
"[The wig] meant protection," she said. "My shield, my mask - I could hide behind that. But at the same time at the end of the day the hair does not make you or break you."
After a second medical leave, she made the choice not to wear the wig.
"I was scared," she said. "And even to some degree I'm still a little scared - because it's seeing myself in a different way. I'm getting used to it, I'm getting more comfortable as time is passing - but it's just different. It's easier!"
Once again, viewers reactions warmed her heart.
"Surprisingly, a lot of people really like it!" she smiled. "They're saying 'Why didn't you take it off before?'"
Now a toddler, Hendrix loves his mom's new 'do. Jackson also got encouragement from "Good Morning America" anchor, and cancer survivor, Robin Roberts.
After a grueling four months of working while undergoing chemo, Jackson snapped a photo at the end of each treatment, a testament to her strength. And through it all, her KOMO family stood by her side.
"It's just - it's meant the world to me," said Jackson. "I mean I never - you just can't anticipate how people will fight for you, or rally around you in the way that they have and I had no idea - I mean not only have Kelly and Seth and Ryan and the whole morning team been there for me - but it's the building,"
The newsroom donations, food and meals during chemo time - left her family speechless.
"So seeing her go though it is really courageous on our part but we are all there to help out and help her through everything," said Wayne. "She is an amazing woman who has been through hell and back. She's on her upward journey, and we continue to be there along with her."
"I know people say it all the time," said Koopmans. "'We are a news team and we're a family and we're friends and we love each other' and that is 100 percent true."
She recently wrapped up her last chemo treatment in May. Now, Jackson is opening up about a very personal decision in the hope it will help others.
"A lot of people don't know but I had a mastectomy on one breast and then I had reconstructive surgery six days later," she said. "So that's why I was gone for my second medical leave."
Next up? Radiation at the end of the month.
"From what the doctor told me that's going to be every single day for six and a half weeks so it's a marathon," she said. "I'm gonna do it get through and get back to regular life."
In the meantime, she wants to help raise awareness with events like Stand Up For The Cure.
"I think it is just wonderful," she smiles. "Mike [Ferreri] put it together here locally because he was connected to cancer through his wife, and her journey and he's bringing it right here in our backyard and I think not only is it to celebrate all of those the survivors but it's to put money to research and help provide more opportunities for us to figure what causes this horrific disease. So I'm really excited just to go this year for many reasons - just to celebrate all the women that have survived and men too and are still fighting."
What does one year from now look like for Jackson and her family?
"New experiences, new places that I want to go to," she said. "My son's going to be older, he's probably going to be ripping and running more than he already is...[there's] just so much more life to live I'm just looking forward to all of it."