Mid-South Heroes: Woman spreads joy and celebrates other cancer survivors

Published: Jul. 25, 2019 at 7:22 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 25, 2019 at 7:26 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Each month WMC Action News 5 recognizes a community member making a difference.

This month’s Mid-South hero is a woman who is working to bring joy to other women in the community who are fighting for their lives.

“Six years ago, I had already been through ovarian cancer, and I came to this place because they offered a respite for people who are survivors of different cancers,” said Marian Bacon.

In one way or another, every participant of the Healing Planet-Cancer Ministry Spa Night has been affected by cancer.

“I was diagnosed with DCIS,” said Susan Agee. “It’s the earliest stage of breast cancer.”

But lamenting about an unknown future isn’t what brings the women and their caretakers together each month. They gather to celebrate life and foster hope.

Healing Planet emerged from Donna Padgett Bowers’ desire to restore joy in other cancer patients by helping them feel better in their own skin.

“I was diagnosed in 2003 with breast cancer,” said Bowers. “It also had invaded my right arm and lymph nodes. A lot of things happen during chemo. You lose your eyebrows, sometimes eyelashes, hair. You don’t really feel very feminine."

The women are treated to food, live music, massages, make-up techniques, wig styling and other self-care services. All of it unites them in their fight against cancer.

“We have Muslims and Jews, Christians and Agnostics, Athiests,” said Bowers. “We are just like a colorful quilt of different women who kind of bridge that gap because we are in the same boat together.”

On July 1, Healing Planet toasted their 150th spa night, celebrating survivors and cherishing memories of those who have passed.

“I have survivor’s guilt,” said Bowers. “I think sometimes I don’t know why I’m still here. But I don’t intend to waste that time that I have.”

Currently, there are more than 3.1 million breast cancer survivors in the United States.

“I sat next to so many women in chemo and said if you live the rest of your life waiting to take that last breath you’ve wasted every single day between no and the day you’re taken.”

Do you know someone deserving of the title “hero?” Nominate them here.

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