Cancer Survivor Relives Battle in Pink-Glove Video
Eight years ago, Wanda Pope’s world stopped under the weight of a cancer diagnosis.
Now she is reliving her battle — along with 200 of her closest pink glove-clad friends — in a FirstHealth Moore Regional video to raise awareness of the disease this month, which is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
The video is entered in the Pink Glove Dance competition sponsored by Medline, the company that makes the pink gloves and created the first pink gloves video two years ago.
“This was finally my chance to do a little something in return for the great care and support I received,” Pope said. “It was my chance to give back.”
In the six-minute video, Pope portrays a patient who travels the emotional roller coaster from cancer diagnosis, to treatment, to eventual cure. During the video, she is surrounded by 200 hospital doctors, nurses, staff, volunteers and other guests who help her through her journey.
The video is set to the music of Katy Perry’s “Firework.”
Pope, a phlebotomist with FirstHealth, shies away from the spotlight. Preferring to share the attention with others, she said she hopes the video will encourage people to visit their doctor regularly.
“If we can get one person to understand the message, to get checked by a doctor, it’s all worth it,” Pope says.
Entries can be viewed and voted for online at www.pinkglovedance.org. Voting ends Friday.
The top three vote-getters online receive a donation in their name to a breast cancer charity. The amounts of the donations are $10,000 for first place, $5,000 for second place and $2,000 for third place.
FirstHealth’s donation will go to the Foundation of FirstHealth Cancer Care Fund.
The video was idea of Gena Richardson, a nurse at FirstHealth. She saw the pink glove video that swept the nation two years ago. Once she heard that the company was opening up the competition to other medical facilities, she jumped at the chance to put together a video.
But she didn’t want it to be a bunch of dancing. It had to have a theme — some meaning — she said.
Richardson wanted to tell a story of a cancer patient. She placed fliers and posters around the hospital looking for volunteers.
Pope saw a poster in a hospital elevator and knew she had to get involved.
“She put a personal touch on the video,” Richardson said of Pope.
In addition to her battle, Pope’s family has been touched numerous times by cancer. Her mother died from the disease. Her sister, grandmother and a cousin have all battled the disease successfully.
She called the experience of being in the video “awesome.”
“The important part of the video for me is for people to know that it is not that scary to go through this,” she said.
In the filming of the video, Pope cries when she receives the cancer diagnosis from the doctor, something she didn’t do eight years ago.
“I think I was more emotional this time,” Pope said. “I guess I finally gave in to what was already there.”
Richardson said she was moved by the compassion and the caring by the entire staff at First Health.
“While we were filming this, I saw how the doctors and the staff here comforted their patients, how compassionate they are about their patients. It wasn’t just another body coming through the door. They really care.”
Mike Martin, who works in corporate communications at FirstHealth, said the video was shot in one day. It was filmed during hospital hours, when staff members were taking care of patients, but without interrupting patient care.
“It was touching how many people participated,” he said. “We didn’t have to arm-wrestle anyone to take part.”
Martin said the project was one of the most enjoyable he has ever worked on.
“These are people who are dealing with life and death every day,” he said. “The fact that they can relax for five minutes and do this for a good cause says a lot about the people we have working here.”
Contact Tom Embrey at email@example.com.
More like this story