CLEVELAND - Cancer patients find out quickly that the cost of living includes losing their hair and that there is power in feeling whole through the fight of their lives.
That's why this is a story of hope.
About overcoming and paying it forward that comes out of a wig boutique tucked away at the Cleveland Clinic.
The wigs are free and priceless at the same time. Donors like the American Cancer Society help to make the wigs possible.
Now there is a unique crowdfunding opportunity for you to help provide MORE hope.
Doctors diagnosed Valerie Anderson with cancer at 58-years-old.
"It was stage 3. They told me it was an aggressive cancer. The tumor was the size of an orange," says Anderson.
Valerie had so much to live for. 2 kids, 7 grandkids and 2 great-grand kids are all beautiful reasons to kick that cancer to the curb.
But 2 years later? "I'm still fighting it. I haven't had a break yet. This is my fifth chemo and I'm going to keep trying," says Anderson.
Margaret Rose Giltinan gets it.
A breast cancer survivor from Shaker Heights herself.
"When I went through treatment I wanted to keep my self-respect. I could keep my self-esteem and I could wear a wig," says Giltinan.
So, Giltinan...so grateful to the Cleveland Clinic, is paying it forward.
Seeing the possible for others up against the fight of their lives.
She's doing it right out of the wig boutique at the Cleveland Clinic's new Taussig Cancer Center, where beautiful fighters get wigs for FREE!
It's hair that comes with hope.
"This is a temporary setback. You will feel strong and empowered and when you are done, life is waiting for you," says Gilinan.
"They gave me the strength to say we're going to fight this. If it takes me out, it's going to say I gave it a heck of a fight," Anderson says through a smile where there used to be fear.
For that fighter spirit, Valerie mentioned she also gets a free pair of earrings here at the wig boutique.
Not just any earrings. They are "Ears To You" earrings from Ruth Crane.
She's another survivor paying it forward, whose story we've already told.
The mother of 3 little boys, the youngest just 1-year-old when she was diagnosed with cancer.
Now she collects and makes earrings that she brings to other patients. Her "Ears To You" earrings are a toast to those setting out on the journey she walked. Her last day of treatment was her first day of distribution.
So, #TheGoodStuff continues to exponentially grow.
Out of a gut-wrenching diagnosis comes strength from women who have been there, done that.
"I believe in the mind, the body and the soul healing," says Giltinan.
Anderson sums it all up when she says, "It made me feel whole again."
"To have them have a wig and wear it and be proud and literally hold their head high!" is what Giltinan says is her reward.
"I can go out here to the world and say look at me! even though I'm fighting cancer, I'm still here! I'm BEAUTIFUL!!! And that's how I feel!" says Anderson.
If you want to be part of that good stuff snowball, you can donate on the site through Monday, August 28th. Giltinan says $50 is enough to get a wig and that any amount helps.
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