Cancer patient finds ACS services add up to love

Meghan Davis

Maxine Odomirok visits the wig room at the American Cancer Society on May 9 looking for some scarves and turbans. “A friend told me about this so after my treatment today I came over,” she said. “This is wonderful.” Cindy Conner, back, was one of three students from the Tennessee School of Beauty there to assist in her search.
Maxine Odomirok’s life changed for the second time in two years when in February of this year she went to Fort Sanders Hospital in Loudon for a routine CT scan. Odomirok had been undergoing treatment for lymphoma which she was diagnosed with in 2011 when the doctors found a tumor located on her pancreas and Odomirok’s second fight against cancer began.

“Had I not had lymphoma, they would not have found the tumor until it had spread and it was too late. I consider that a gift.”

Wigs and scarves on display in the wig room at the American Cancer Society.

This was not, however, the last time that Odomirok would be in the right place at the right time. Fast forward to May 2013 when Odomirok was sitting at an oncologist appointment with a fellow patient, discussing her desire to find a head scarf or turban that was less expensive than the ones she’d seen in stores.

“She had on a nice turban so I asked her where she got it, and she told me to go to the American Cancer Society where they had hundreds of them available for free.”

Intrigued, Odomirok asked the person who drove her to the appointment if they could swing by ACS on the way back to work. Sure enough, it was exactly as her friend had described. Odomirok was greeted at the door and ushered to a room where three Tennessee School of Beauty employees waited to assist her in her turban search.

“It brought me such joy to have them there helping, it was just an incredibly fun experience to have those women there with me.”

Odomirok said that she was blown away by the number of services and the amount of support the American Cancer Society offers to people with a cancer diagnosis. “It may seem like a small thing, but for someone who has cancer it is a really big deal,” she said.

She plans on going back again as well as telling anyone she thinks could benefit about the resources that ACS makes available to those going through cancer.

“I didn’t feel intimidated at all or like people felt sorry for me. I just felt loved.”