May 6, 2010

From Cancer to Candles

Posted: 06:11 PM ET

By Quinn Brown
LKL Senior Producer

“The light of a candle coming through a glassybaby generates more; it gives warmth to a cold day, a calm token of peace in the busy world.”

The words of a savvy PR writer about a brand of candle-holder? No on both counts. Glassybaby is more than just a decorative piece. It rose out of a life and death struggle. The resiliency and toughness of the product matches that of its creator and founder, Lee Rhodes. That description was written by her twelve year-old son Hector.

“It is magical to think this jaded 12 year old would say that. I never heard him say a word about glassy until that moment. When I got [that note]…it was so real.”

Rhodes, a Seattle resident, is a three-time lung cancer survivor. During her third bout with the illness- raising three children all the while- she needed light. Hope. A sense of calm. As a stress reliever, she bought her husband glass-blowing lessons. Nine years later– from her working out of her garage to a bi-coastal operation, from giving away the votives at Huskie games to 2.5 million dollars in sales per year, from asking friends to volunteer for free to partnering with Jeff Bezos (’s CEO is an investor) and Martha Stewart – glassybaby is big business.

“When you light them they take you to a place that's OK. When your life and house is a mess, they put you in a frame of mind to capture wellness.”

Rhodes has not forgotten the initial inspiration for glassybaby. From day one, in the garage, the company has given back. “We [have raised] $70,000 for cancer care. We took 10% off top... right from the beginning. I poured money into without making a cent for 3 years. I feel like people are following this little company that is actually doing what it says it does. We're accountable to ourselves...that’s what keeps people coming back.,” she says. The company, with stores in Seattle, Bellevue and New York, has extended its goodwill to other causes such as Conservation International, University of Washington School of Nursing, amfAR AIDS research, and the Seattle Humane Society.

So on this mother’s day, you can get a gift for mom while giving back. ‘Glassybaby will encourage her to take that 30 seconds to light that glassy and find the calm, peace and joy in life.”

Filed under: LKL Web Exclusive • Mother's Day

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Smith in Oregon   May 6th, 2010 6:59 pm ET

Far more research and funding of American taxpayer dollars goes into designing lethal weapons and causing the death of individuals


Finding cures and complete medical remission of a wide range of virus's and diseases that have historically plagued all of humanity here on earth and remain the number one killer.

It is time to redirect America to focus it's tax dollars and federal efforts to solve the treatment of long lasting diseases including the many kinds of Cancer.

Joe G. (Illinois)   May 6th, 2010 7:06 pm ET

Sounds to me like some sort of New Age form of religion..

Finding “Calm, peace and joy in life” by lighting up a candle placed inside a colorful piece of glass. It’s like everyday someone comes up with a new one.

Dodie   May 6th, 2010 8:02 pm ET

@Smith in Oregon

Absolutely,…. beautifully stated. Thank You!

Talk about America’s priorities!!

Being the “only” cancer survivor of my entire family, I have often wondered why the US spends so much money on “killing machines” and techniques instead of life surviving ones! Whatever happened to the “value” of life?

Candles seem to exuberate a sense of well-being.

Smith in Oregon   May 7th, 2010 4:09 am ET

Color therapy was used and historically recorded as so in ancient Egypt. Although some tiny research has been done, very little in this field has actually been explored in modern times. The energy pouring off the Sun appears to be the same day after day and yet the Earth's Sun is constantly producing variations of the energy it produces which hopefully scientists on Earth will notice someday are not by accident, go figure!

Theresa   May 7th, 2010 7:28 am ET

Good for Lee Rhodes..I hope her business is a success. Kudos to her for not giving up when the chips were down. Her son sounds as if he was wise before his time.And to top it off...she's able to give back thro' it. If anyone has had to watch a loved one suffer thro' this disease. My sister had just turned 50...loved life, did for others always even up to the last month of her life.She suffered horrifically the last year of her life...even when she was losing weight at an alarming rate ,could barely swallow..she was helping the teacher that was taking over her class, preparing meals for a friend who was unwell. She was taken much too soon. she still had much to do. It would be nice if 1 day it would be known cancer has been eradicated. Man can get on other planets but too many diseases there have been barely any positive changes. I must admit since my sis died from breast cancer 15 yr. ago...ther have been many positive improvements in the survival rate but a cure we know NOT YET. Mental health is also an illness that there seems very little has been done. A change in people's attitudes towards the ones afflicted would be a start!!

Ted   May 7th, 2010 8:02 am ET

Light and warmth are just as essential for us human beings as food and water.
Nothing is greater than a dozen candles in the room, a bottle of good wine and a special person or a few good friends.
In the later case you better make it several bottles!!

Jessie from Auckland, NZ   May 7th, 2010 8:07 am ET

Someone who has turned a negative into a positive. A feelgood story and a success story. Good on you.

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