SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - When a loved one is diagnosed with breast cancer, we often forget that the battle is not just theirs. Family can be the difference between losing or winning the fight. For Gloria Phillips, family have not only become comrades in her battle against Triple Negative Breast Cancer, but they've also given her a suit of armor, one that sparkles just as bright as her personality.
Gloria describes her style as "eclectic and artistic" and you can tell by her head wear, full of sparkles and pearls. This larger than life personality has a huge smile and laughter that can be heard from two rooms down. She has a joy that you would expect to see in young children and it is contagious, just standing near her on your worst day could up life your spirits. Sadly, her shaved head is not just a fashion statement but a consequence of her chemo therapy treatments after being diagnosed with Stage 3 Triple Negative Breast Cancer.
"Everything progressed really fast," says Gloria. "I cried for a little bit, I cried on the first day maybe the second but after that no more tears. I knew God had a plan for me."
Faith in God and love for family, both driving forces behind her recovery. You can tell just by the laughter and conversation between Gloria and her twin sister Tammy just how much family kept her afloat.
"They would envelope me with all this love that made this journey a lot more tolerable," says Gloria.
Part of the journey of chemo therapy is losing your hair and for Gloria that was a piece of cake.
"It was a relief for me. I started to lose my hair after my very first chemo treatment so I knew that it was going to come back."
Instead of choosing the usual wig, Gloria turned to family to think of something creative and something with sparkle came to mind, literally. She called it "Chandeliering."
Gloria and her niece Shayla now "Chandelier" mostly for special occasions. For Gloria, fitting for her name, it is a way to reclaim her crown and glory.
"I knew that being bald would also show other people that it's okay to embrace your baldness," says Gloria. Her sister believes she is an inspiration. "She is so inspirational to family and to others, it just makes me proud and it makes me want to press on," says Tammy Phillips-Johnson.
"For me the love has overshadowed the pain. My struggle has been quite significant and through all of that, each and every time my family have been with me every step of the way," says Gloria.
The only way to win this fight is to keep fighting and you have to have people there to fight with you and maybe, they'll add a slight sparkle to your life. For Gloria, the only option is to shine through and conquer cancer because survival is the only option.
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