Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Spa lets moms struggling with ill children relax

From left, robe-clad Natalie Willis, Maria Gourrie (facing away), Robin Simms and Iris Padilla laugh with Sharin Nelson, far right, director of program development at the Children’s Cancer Center, at Grand Beauty Spa.

BRIAN CASSELLA | Times

From left, robe-clad Natalie Willis, Maria Gourrie (facing away), Robin Simms and Iris Padilla laugh with Sharin Nelson, far right, director of program development at the Children’s Cancer Center, at Grand Beauty Spa.

TAMPA — Thirteen mothers had to tear themselves away from their sick kids Sunday for some alone time with each other. It wasn't easy.

"Sean's still giving me a hard time," Holly Covais, 32, said when she walked into the Grand Beauty Spa in South Tampa, for a day of relaxation planned by the Children's Cancer Center.

"I didn't tell mine until this morning," said Maria Gourrie, 29. "They try to convince you, 'Mom, if I don't go, you're not going to have fun,' " Iris Padilla said. "Yes I will,'' the 27-year-old added.

Every day, these women juggle jobs, parenting and their children's cancer treatments. Some wake up in the middle of the night to go to work. Others quit their jobs for their kids' extended hospital visits. They struggle with medical bills, reactions to steroids, chemotherapy and worries.

Relaxation is a luxury. Sunday, for three hours, they indulged in free facials, massages, pedicures and water therapy provided by spa employees who came in on their day off.

"Mimosas?" Sharon Yerrid asked as she walked down the staircase of the five-star spa on Kennedy Boulevard.

The chair of the board at the Children's Cancer Center began the day-at-the-spa seven years ago, after running into a mom at a concert and finding her exhausted. Yerrid said the mothers she sees forget to take care of themselves when their children are sick.

Deanna Inglese has been putting off necessary doctor's appointments since her 3-year-old son, Jordan, was diagnosed with leukemia last September.

"I'm definitely going to make more of an effort to be there for myself. You just kind of lose yourself when you've got so much going on," she said with a head full of tinfoil. The 37-year-old from Palm Harbor hadn't had her highlights done in six months.

Most of Inglese's days are spent taking Jordan to the doctor, making sure he gets his daily medication and navigating the aggressive side-effects of his steroid treatments, including erratic moods and weird food cravings. Her nights are spent taking reservations for Continental Airlines. She starts work at 10 p.m. and gets home at 2:30 a.m.

Padilla can sympathize. The Tampa mother goes to school full time and wakes up at 3 a.m. for work. Her 7-year-old son, Nicolas, was diagnosed with leukemia last year.

On Sunday, the women enjoyed the fresh fruit and quiche, the sun deck and the lounge music. But what they enjoyed more was each other's company, and being able to talk about their lives with people who understand.

Inside a steam bath, Gourrie, Padilla and Natalie Willis, 37, talked about treatment and the people who helped them pay for it. How cancer changed their perspectives. And how they can't take a moment of any day for granted.

They walked out in plush robes. Yerrid was on the other side, with more orange juice and champagne. "We were just making a fresh pitcher, ladies!"

Alexandra Zayas can be reached at azayas@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3354.

Spa lets moms struggling with ill children relax 05/04/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 6, 2008 1:35pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Fennelly: Bucs' Roberto Aguayo has his backers, no matter how many kicks he misses

    Bucs

    He was perfect Friday, and not just because he didn't have to kick.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicker Roberto Aguayo (19) takes a photo with fans following the first day of training camp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Friday, July 28, 2017.
  2. Starbucks to close all Teavana locations, including five in Tampa Bay

    Retail

    Local Teavana locations include Tyrone Square in St. Petersburg, International Plaza and Westfield Citrus Park in Tampa, Brandon and Clearwater.

    Starbucks announced Thursday plans to shut down all 379 Teavana stores, citing "underperformance." Starbucks acquired the mall-based tea chain for $620 million in 2012. [ CANDICE CHOI | AP file photo]
  3. What to watch this weekend: 'The Last Tycoon,' 'Room 104,' 'Rick and Morty'

    Blogs

    Checking in: Room 104

    Listen up, fans of Hitchcock and American Horror Story. Room 104 might be your next obsession. With a premise that feels experimental, Room 104 explores one of film's most traditional styles - telling a story from the inside of just one room. The HBO series is from …

    Each episode of Room 104 follows the guests of a single motel rom and the strange and wonderful things they experience.
  4. Rubio: I intend to keep campaign promises on Obamacare

    Blogs

    WASHINGTON - Sen. Marco Rubio says he remains committed to overturning Obamacare following the collapse of the latest attempt.

  5. Family spokeswoman: British baby Charlie Gard has died

    World

    LONDON — Charlie Gard, the critically ill British baby at the center of a legal battle that attracted the attention of Pope Francis and U.S. President Donald Trump, has died. He would have turned 1 next week.

    This is an undated photo of sick baby Charlie Gard provided by his family, taken at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. [Family of Charlie Gard via AP]