The first person I want to profile is Marilyn Robinson. She
took her diagnosis of breast cancer and turned it in to good. She took the positive road, and now is helping others in their
A cancer survivor, Marilyn has made it her mission
since 1993 to educate chemotherapy patients and patients with cranial surgery about maintaining their feminine appearance
during and after treatment.
A career woman with a thriving business, she was devastated at the prospect of losing
her professional image along with her hair. Not satisfied with the utilitarian headwear then available, she traveled to the
world's fashion centers such as Paris, Greece, Turkey, Israel, Los Angeles, New York, and Dallas to locate stylish alternatives.
The result is Headwear etc.
Her husband, Sonny, was in cancer treatment at the same time as Marilyn. One evening the
couple were watching a scarf-tying video. Marilyn's mother, a former milliner, and Marilyn tried unsuccessfully to follow
the directions. Her husband laughed for the first time in days at their Carmen Miranda antics. A friend skilled in tying ethnic
headwear later taught them to tie intricate scarf knots.
When Marilyn went for treatment after that, patients invariably
pleaded with her to show them how she attained the look of hair with a simple cotton headpiece and how she tied fabric into
classy knots and bows. She graciously complied. The individual consultations became too numerous to handle, and she began
regular demonstrations at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. She recognized the great need for glamorous solutions to
hair loss as patients often questioned her about the wig or headwrap she wore to the demonstrations. Inundated with requests
for help, she opened her shop in Houston's Medical Center to accommodate the great demand. Today she continues her mission
of bringing fashionable, affordable headwear to women everywhere through her online boutique.
A volunteer at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and a headwear consultant
at other cancer centers in the U.S., Marilyn has donated numerous children's hats and other high-fashion headwear for cancer
The second person I would like to salute is my mother. She was diagnosed
with Stage 4 Breast Cancer in November of 1983. The doctors only gave her a year to two and a half years to live. SHE LIVED
6 YEARS!!! I miss my mom. She never got to see any of her grandchildren. Because of her, I was aware of my own breast health.
I started getting mammograms at 30. What I learned at the age of 37, since my mom was diagnosed at age 45, my sisters and
I were supposed to get mammograms annually since age 35. Doctors are now going back 10 years from the age of the youngest
family member with breast cancer. So, I guess my nieces have to start at age 30. What a way to turn 30! My mother never got
a mammogram until she was diagnosed. I don't know if she ever found a lump, but she had discharge from her breast that was
there for at least 6 weeks. My mom got what we thought was the flu. She finally went to the doctor when she was having trouble
breathing. Her lungs had collapsed. The cancer was in her chestlining. She survived longer than her original prognosis. She
died October 6.1989. The bitter irony, that she died during National Breast Cancer month.
I will never forget a few days before she died. She had been in a coma for
4 days, and the doctors felt she wouldn't wake up. One doctor thought she might. BY THE GRACE OF GOD, I knew she was going
to wake up. She did, and the first thing she told me,"You believed mind over words." I didn't understand at first, and then
I thought about it. (While she was in the coma, I would talk to her, as I normally would. I talked to her about everyday stuff,
about my new job at Hair Club For Men, "Jeopardy" and "People's Court" was on,etc. Even when the interns would talk to my
dad and me, about DNR,(Do Not Resuscitate), I would argue with them, saying that they didn't know my mother, that she was
going to wake up.) I said to her,"You heard me!" She smiled and said again,"You believed mind over words." Anyway, a
few days later, she tried to push herself out of bed, and had pulled out her tubes. She said,"I have got to get home, and
raise my children."
Her mother had died of breast cancer before I was born. I was due
at Christmas,but I was born a couple of weeks early. Exactly 1 month to the hour,that my grandmother had died. My mother used
to tell me, that she saw me as sort of a gift of replacement for her mother. I understand that now. Eventhough, my son was
already here,when I was diagnosed,he (and my husband) gave me something to hold on to and fight for.