Terry Gillespie is a superstar among our mentor Angels. While being diagnosed with stage IIIB carcinoma, non-small cell lung cancer, she did not let the diagnoses bring her down. Not only did she beat it, but she did so with an enthusiasm and passion rarely found in any individual. She has dedicated most of her time to be a mentor angel and helps others after their initial diagnosis and through their treatments.
With only one lung, she bowls several times a week and loves to swim. According to Terry, she “doesn’t really swim, she bobs”
Terry is a shining example of energy, compassion, vivaciousness and love all wrapped up in one. She does her best to personally visit her pair-ups if she can. She has visited fighters in Illinois, Wisconsin and Missouri, often sending beautiful crystal and pearl survivor bracelets to the women she mentors. She tells the fighters that she paired up with “if you can’t cry with me, who are you going to cry with” She truly believes that no one can really understand what you’re going through more than someone who has been there. And been there she has.
Terry is working on putting together her own non for profit organizations called “Lung Cancer Heroes” dedicated to raising awareness and funding for lung cancer research
Although new to the Imerman Angel staff, this past January, I had the pleasure of introducing Terry to her 50th 1-on-1 pair up. She has done several more since. Terry has a “can-do” attitude that is unparalleled. She has never said no, she has never been too tired, too busy, too pre-occupied, too anything to help out a person in their time of need. She hugs with her heart and high fives with her soul.
Imerman Angels is proud to have her among our dedicated group of Survivor Mentor Angels.
- Lisa Cristia, Connection Specialist
Now that we have three fulltime staff (Rynell, Laura and Lisa: “Jonny’s Angels”) focusing on pair-ups and registering new mentor angels, we’ve been getting a lot done around here! It’s been another busy week. Please take a few minutes to read about this amazing connection that we made today.
Thanks to the Lance Armstrong Foundation, a sweet 77 year old woman, living in Texas reached out for 1on1 support. She’s currently battling stage II papillary thyroid cancer and mentioned that she’s still in disbelief from her cancer diagnosis. The thyroid cancer has also effected her vocal cords therefore she has a very scratchy and raspy voice. She plans to start the radioactive iodine in the upcoming weeks. We found the perfect mentor angel for her: a local Chicagoan who survived stage III papillary thyroid cancer. She’s 61 years young and incredibly full of life. Her vocal cords were also effected during her battle with the papillary. I know that these two women will not only share their cancer experience and stories but will hopefully become lifelong friends. Texas to Illinois!
Have a great weekend!
Weekly Pair-Up Spotlight: The Angel & Caregiver Duo
We had some pretty incredible fighter, survivor and caregiver connections this past week… it’s hard to choose just one to spotlight!
A husband and wife reached out to us from the western suburbs of Chicago. They’re both in their late 40s and also have two healthy children at home. The family learned about Imerman Angels at the Rush Hospital Cancer Survivor’s Day. The husband recently had a reoccurrence of Multiple Myeloma and wanted to connect with another guy who went through Multiple Myeloma with a reoccurrence. His wife also wanted to connect to another caregiver – someone who could relate to what she’s currently going through. Imerman Angels was able to introduce this family to another amazing family – a man who also had a reoccurrence of Multiple Myeloma and his wife, an incredible and sweet caregiver. They’re both in their late 30s, living in the northern suburbs of Chicago, they also have a child and were also treated at Rush Hospital in Chicago . This particular survivor and caregiver angel duo are shining stars who have helped many other families dealing with Multiple Myeloma!
We’ve already received feedback that both families have connected and will plan to stay in touch to provide support, inspiration and encouragement! This is what Imerman Angels is all about! If you or someone you know would like to get connected for 1-on-1 support, please don’t hesitate to reach out! Everyone on staff at IA is a cancer survivor – we can immediately relate to what you’re going through. We’re more than happy to get you connected to someone else who is exactly like you. Someone who’s been there, done that – and has walked a mile in your shoes!