The Glow Girls

The Glow Girls

From Chicken Soup for the Breast Cancer Survivor's Soul

The Glow Girls

Where there is laughter, there is always more health than sickness.

Phyllis Bottome

The lives of four women were changed forever the fall of 1999. These women did not meet on the golf course, the country club or bowling league. They met at the Blood and Cancer Center in Canfield, Ohio, and the bond that brought them to that building on Tuesday mornings was cancer. These four women were young wives with children, going to work every day and enjoying life to the fullest.

Tuesday mornings brought them together because all were receiving chemotherapy. It had started with a friendly smile and a hello. Lynn and Karen were the first two to introduce themselves to each other. It just so happened they sat next to each other that first day as chemo was dripping through their veins. They knew they were going to be there for a while, so they befriended each other and started a conversation. Soon they became chemo friends, discovered they were on the same treatment schedule and knew they would be seeing much of each other. A month later, Sandy arrived in the chemo room and decided to take the chair next to Lynn and Karen. Soon after that, Cindy came into the picture, and now they are the Fearless Foursome.

The circle of four was there once a month on Tuesday, and the nurses reserved their four chairs for them. They would sit and compare their bald heads; someone from the group would bring snacks to be shared; someone was always telling a funny story. There was always laughter coming from the chemo room when these ladies were together. You never knew what the Fearless Four were going to do next; when these women were together, it was one crazy party! One time there was so much laughter, the doctor walked into the room to see what all the noise was about.

Having fun and laughing is contagious—often other chemo patients joined in the fun. The Fearless Foursome did very well throughout treatment, and it must have been the laughter. When one of them finished her cancer treatments, she would have a graduation party—the graduation party of life. There would be pizza, pop and cake for everyone. Gifts, balloons and flowers would adorn the chemo room. Party hats were worn on bald heads. Once someone brought in a bottle of wine, and the girls had a tiny sip out of a bathroom Dixie cup.

The funny four are no longer meeting at chemo; they have taken their laughter and now meet at a restaurant for lunch. They have decided it’s important for them to stay in touch; after all, they’ve spent their last six months together, running the race of life.

Many months have passed, and the four decided it was time to do something more—to reach out to other women living with cancer. They realize how important it is to love and encourage others, and they formed a support group called The Glow Girls. They always said, “If we’re in a room together with the lights out, we would surely glow!”

Actually, Glow Girls stands for Gracious, Loving, Optimistic Women living with cancer. They are not counselors; they are friends. Women need to know there is life after cancer. These ladies do not offer medical advice; what they do offer is love, encouragement and friendship. They’ll tell you what it’s like to lose your hair, and they’ll also tell you about their beautiful new hair. They will answer questions a newly diagnosed patient might have. These women tell all cancer survivors to be strong, stay positive and make sure you laugh along the way.

Today there are more than thirty Glow Girls. Was it by chance that these four ladies met? No way! God had a plan. None of these women would wish cancer on anyone, but through their cancer experience they have become different people. If it hadn’t been for cancer, this friendship would never have occurred.

The circle of four is now a large circle, still laughing and having great fun. Cancer has been part of their lives, but they took a negative event and turned it into a positive experience. You’ll know when the Glow Girls are together—just follow their laughter.

Karen Theis

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