COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – After being diagnosed with an extremely rare brain tumor, a local woman is inspiring people around the world with her story of survival.

Her husband documented her recovery process through photos and videos which have now been viewed millions of times on social media.

In 2016, Borah Dawson was 28-years-old when she went to a concert with her husband and she thought her hearing might have been affected by the loud music. Doctors discovered it was actually a rare brain tumor, and this mother of four boys was determined to fight the uphill battle toward recovery.

Dawson runs her at-home coffee business with ease, but in June of 2020, she wasn’t sure she’d ever be able to hear clearly or walk unassisted again after doctors discovered the rare tumor they found in 2016 had grown.

“It’s called an acoustic neuroma or a vestibular schwannoma and it grows on the cranial nerves that are your balance nerve, your hearing nerve, and your facial nerve,” she said.

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, doctors advised Dawson to undergo surgery to remove the tumor.

“’We can’t guarantee your hearing that it won’t do permanent damage,’ so they could stop it with the surgery, but they couldn’t reverse any damage that had been done to my facial nerve,” she said. “My hearing and my balance was already wonky.”

Dawson underwent brain surgery at the James Cancer Hospital at the Ohio State University.

“I woke up and immediately, I couldn’t keep my eyes open without vomiting,” she said. “I had horrible vertigo because they removed my balance nerve on my right side.”

After surgery, half of Dawson’s face was paralyzed for several weeks and she needed physical therapy to learn how to walk unassisted again. As a busy mom of four boys, she’s grateful her husband Johnny helped her every step of the way, and they shared her journey on social media.

“Even if it helped just one person in this journey and their family to know what to expect it was worth it for me to look like Frankenstein on the internet,” she said.

The videos have now been viewed on TikTok and Instagram more than 6 million times.

“I get messages daily, weekly from all over the world, Brazil, New York, all over the U.S., of people who are newly diagnosed, and they somehow found my social media,” Dawson said.

After her recovery, Dawson can walk alone with ease and her facial nerves and hearing are fully restored. Feeling inspired to give back, she started a coffee company — Ark Coffee Co. — in her garage that benefits local charities.

“I wanted something tangible and so I was like, ‘This would be great to start up a coffee company that every time someone purchases coffee, I can give back to a non-profit,” she said.

May is Brain Tumor Awareness Month, so Dawson has been asked to sit on a panel at the James with one of her doctors for the Acoustic Neuroma Association to share her story and be an advocate for other patients.