EVANS, GA (WFXG) - Around 90 women came out to Tuscany Spa in Evans for the 15th annual "Spa Day" for gynecological cancer patients and survivors on Sept. 19.
The spa day was fully paid for by the CSRA Gynecological Cancer Survivors support group. This annual event gives survivors and patients a chance to escape reality, even just for a day. Dr. Sharad Ghamande, Director of Gynecological Oncology at the Georgia Cancer Center, said, "The event gives these women a chance to express their inner beauty and just have a blast and forget all the things they have gone through."
Mattison Bolen, who is in remission, said, "I get to gather with other ovarian cancer caregivers and survivors, and just get to meet and greet with them, hear their story and tell them a little bit about mine." Bolen was diagnosed in 2016 with a rare type of cancer that led to aggressive, almost constant treatment. She said, "It was stressful for me because I maintained work in the midst of getting chemo and being hospitalized." She has been in remission since March of 2017. This is her second time at the spa day.
Bolen says it does so much more than just bring survivors and patients together. She said, "It's something where we actually get to see our doctors and staff different, like normal; just like us." Dr. Ghamande added, "We kind of take the day off and just hang out with them as regular people." Both Bolen and Ghamande say this is their favorite part of the event.
On top of that, the owner of Tuscany Spa also shares her personal story with the women. Leigh Ann Keels said, "I went through chemo and lost my hair, so I understand part of their struggle. We are so blessed and thrilled to be able to give back to them." Bolen said she did not know Keels was also a survivor until the event this year. She said, "Just giving back to people who are going through what you've been through, is something different."
Throughout the day, the women are able to share and embrace those differences during their day of relaxation, and that sends dozens of them home with one extra reminder: they are not alone in this fight.