The Sparkle Lady
by Andrea Powell, HPCCR Marketing Manager
Sometimes we have great stories about our staff and the extraordinary lengths they go to on behalf of patients. Sometimes we have great stories about our volunteers who constantly make a difference in the lives of our patients. This time we have a great story about a volunteer’s daughter who is making the world a better place in the chemo room.
Frank DeLuise is one of our volunteers. His daughter, Robyn, has been visiting women who are receiving chemotherapy at the Levine Cancer Institute in Charlotte. She comes in, dressed to the nines, wearing a bright pink wig, and carrying a basket full of sparkly jewelry. She lets the women choose a bracelet, ring, or other small piece; just a little trinket to brighten what is inarguably an extremely tough day.
Here’s the caveat: Robyn is battling stage four breast cancer herself.
Robyn, a 46-year old single mother of three, was diagnosed last summer. What they thought was a simple cyst turned out to be breast cancer that had spread to her liver and bones. She immediately started treatment.
At first Robyn would wear sweatpants and comfortable clothes. But then she had a change in attitude. And that’s when she became the Sparkle Lady. She says that she decided to, “come dressed up and wear my jewelry and sparkle because cancer can’t take that away. It can take a lot of things away but it can’t take that away.”
The best part? Local Charlotte TV station, WCNC, heard about Robyn and what she was doing. They were so inspired by her compassion and strength they decided to help the cause. They contacted the owners of a jewelry store company, Towne & Reese, who were similarly blown away by Robyn’s efforts. Towne & Reese donated over 150 sparkly items to fill the basket.
So now if you walk into the chemo treatment room at Levine Cancer Institute, you’ll likely see glitter and shine coming from the earlobes, wrists, and fingers of women who may even have a smile on their lips, despite the challenges they face. And that’s how you’ll know the Sparkle Lady has come to call.
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