In August, Cobb Life Magazine and Bob Steele Salon invited readers to nominate a Cobb County resident who has persevered through a difficult time and inspired others with their strength and generosity. The prize — a day of pampering at four Cobb County businesses for one deserving recipient.
The submissions ranged from heart wrenching to uplifting, each story about a person who deserved a day of pampering in their own inspiring way. However, two submissions for a woman named Terri Jackson stood out for her strength and unwavering commitment to optimism. This is the story of the winner of Cobb Life Magazine and Bob Steele Salon’s “Diva for a Day” contest.
By Robyn Ware /// Photography by Katherine Frye
Born deaf due to German measles in New York, Terri Jackson was never a stranger to struggle, though you wouldn’t know it by the gracious, warm smile that beams from her soft, olive-complected face. She grew up attending deaf schools and graduated from a deaf college in Rochester, N.Y. with a degree in accounting.
She married her husband Scott, who is also deaf, 26 years ago and the couple moved to Cobb County in 1986. Here, they had two children, both of whom are hearing and communicate with their parents through sign language.
“Even the cat knows to tap me with her paw when she needs something,” Terri says.
In 2011, Terri went in for her annual mammogram without concern. She had always been diligent with manual self-screenings and had no symptoms. During that appointment, her doctor found a Stage II cancerous tumor deep in her left breast, deeper than she could have felt on her own.
After her diagnoses, Terri told everyone in her life that she didn’t want to hear a word of negativity — no complaining and certainly not a story about cancer taking someone’s life.
“She only allowed herself to be surrounded with statements of graciousness and stories of success,” says Misty Evans, one of the friends who nominated Terri. “I believe her commitment to positivity and her faith in God are a result of the challenges she’s faced, as well as sources of her strength to overcome.”
In 2011, Terri underwent a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction and chemotherapy. The surgery was a success but a year later, cancer returned in the same breast and also in her lymph nodes. Like a merry-go-round that just wouldn’t stop, Terri began again with rounds of chemotherapy and radiation treatments. By the end of 2013, she was in remission, but only for a year. In 2014, the two cancerous tumors reappeared in her liver. This time it was metastatic, meaning the cancer had spread to different organs and tissues in the body.
Currently, Terri is undergoing chemo for a fourth re-emergence of cancer. Despite her ongoing fight, she participates in the 3-day/ 60-miles walk, 5K walks, leads a support group for deaf women with cancer and coordinates a monthly deaf ladies’ dinner out. For nine years, she has taught American Sign Language classes at Kennesaw Parks & Rec and at a homeschooling co-op in Woodstock. In these classes, she also educates hearing students on how to integrate with and interact with the deaf community.
She attributes her ability to cope to her faith in God, the support of friends and family and the “exceptional” oncology counseling services at Kennestone Hospital. Regular walks with girlfriends help her sustain the physical and mental energy to keep going.
Terri’s advice to anyone facing an obstacle that seems insurmountable — “Kick out anything negative from your life; this includes negative people and thoughts,” she says. “Only allow space for positivity and give nothing the power to rob you of living your richest, most joyful life.”
Day of Pampering>>11am: Renew Day Spa — Terri started the day with Renew Day Spa’s signature classic massage to release stress, stimulate circulation, promote muscle tone and improve her range of motion.
Renew Day Spa, 4347 Shallowford Road, Marietta | www.renewdayspa.com
12:30pm: Fab’rik East Cobb — At this stylish and affordable boutique, Terri chose two shift dresses that can be dressed up or down and are perfect for the transition from summer to fall.
Fab’rik East Cobb, Merchant’s Walk, 1311 Johnson Ferry Road, Marietta | www.fabrikstyle.com
2pm: Bob Steele Salon — For the beauty portion of her day, Terri stopped at one of Atlanta’s most trusted and cutting-edge salons for the full beauty treatment.
“We freshened up her existing warm brown base color and gave her dimensional highlights,” says Bob Steele Elite-level stylist, Kasey Whitfield. Since Terri’s hair is finally returning to its pre-chemo length, Kasey didn’t take much length. Instead, she took the back slightly shorter and repositioned her layers to make her cut look “intentional” as it grows out.
Bob Steele Salon also waxed her eyebrows to “brighten and frame her face” and applied natural, matte makeup to complete her look.
Bob Steele Salon, Sandy Plains Center, 2960 Shallowford Road, Suite 200, Marietta | www.bobsteele.com
Seed Restaurant — Chef-driven with a conscious, Seed Kitchen and Bar serves up locally sourced ingredients, vintage cocktails and a world-class wine selection in a trendy, yet welcoming atmosphere.
Seed Restaurant, Merchant’s Walk, 1311 Johnson Ferry Road, #504, Marietta | www.eatatseed.com