Growing up in the Bronx in the 1980s and 90s, Liz Murray dealt with the typical stresses childhood. But she also had to grapple with being the daughter of drug addicts — which ultimately meant fending for herself.
When Murray got lice, she had to deal with it alone. She and her sister went days without food, once eating toothpaste and lip balm to quell their hunger.
After years of neglect, Murray left home at 15. She spent her adolescence sleeping on the streets, the subway and the couches of friends.
Murray's story could have ended tragically. Instead, she won a scholarship to Harvard University and graduated in 2009.
Murray, now a motivational speaker, shares her story in her memoir, Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard.