By Don Ford

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) – The traditional fifth wedding anniversary gift is something made of wood, but for one Bay Area woman, it was made on the road.

Growing up in Philadelphia and ending up on nearly a dozen West Coast billboards sounds something like a fairy tale, but for Terri Lomax, it is very real.

Lomax and her husband Rhett moved to California from Maryland, where they fell in love. Rhett wanted to surprise his wife for their fifth wedding anniversary and the launch of her first book. It wasn’t flowers.

“Billboards are always there. You don’t really pay attention to them until something in me sparked and said that’s it,” he said. “That was my wedding anniversary, slash, book launch gift… nine billboards!”

Lomax’s book, ‘How To Glow Up As You Grow Up,’ is about her personal experiences growing up in both Philly and San Diego, two very different environments. When life looked its darkest, she pulled herself up.

“I had a very rough upbringing. I was raised in a physically and verbally abusive household and just faced a lot of adversity growing up,” said Lomax. “Everything from losing a parent unexpectedly, right before going to college, to raising my younger siblings while another parent was incarcerated, So for me, a lot of what got me here today, where I am, is persistence.”

Lomax’s book encourages folks to break out of what she calls, the Victim Status. She says much of her strength comes from her supportive husband.

“I wanted to stand firm and choose where I went to. I didn’t want to be defined by statistics that said I should be a ‘teen mom’ or that I should be in prison. I really wanted to take ownership of what happened to me and reach beyond,” says Lomax

Her husband says the billboards are all across San Francisco and the East Bay – all nine of them.

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