Just posting these pictures has brought me to tears~ I attended two of Cynthia's "Hope weeks" at a hotel in Baldwin park California in 1997. The Hope weeks were 5 days long and consisted of several groups and meals together. They were very intense, just run by Cynthia and Mike Moore from the Minirth Meier clinic where Cynthia had spent several weeks in patient for bulmia nervosa.
Many may be familiar with her book, THE MONSTER WITHIN, where she wrote candidly about her severe bulimia and her stay with other patents with different disorders at the clinic.
Cynthia had been a news anchorwoman who would consume thousands of calories a day while downing boxes of laxatives and purging. She was knocking on death's door when arriving at the clinic and went through horrible withdraws from her disorder. What touched me the most in her book was how honest she was in what she needed and how hard she pushed for recovery. She speaks of when she needed a hug or needed to confront someone and was honest about her deepest thoughts and emotions.
Cynthia used her recovery to go on to help others through her Hope weeks and speaking engagements all over the country. She also wrote a book called LIFE AFTER ADDICTIONS about her being diagnosed with breast cancer at the young age of 28 and meeting her husband David and later adopting two boys from two different women who suffered with eating disorders.
During the first Hope Week I was greeted with a very enthusiastic Cynthia. She was so warm and caring and it was evident this wasn't just a job to her but her passion in life.
It was during my first Hope week I ended up being rushed to urgent care by ambulance due to collapsing with chest pains from laxatives and purging. I was given i.v and sent back hours later. Cynthia was supportive but confrontative and knew I had the pills. She had me get them from my room and when I gave them to her in group and confronted she shared with everyone how she felt about her abuse of them and fully felt the chemicals in them contributed and possibly caused her breast cancer. She had been in remission at the time of this Hope Week and fully recovered from her eating disorder. During this group I lost it. She sat in the middle of the group on the floor and called me to her. She literally just sat ad held me the rest of the group! Amazing woman!!!
I kept in phone contact with Cynthia after Hope Week and not long after Hope Week she called me and asked if I would meet her and a few others at Soup Plantation in Brea as she wanted to discuss something with us. I remember there were 3 of us and her. I brought her a snicker's bar as a joke and sat next to her. That's when she told us the devastating news. Her cancer came back ten fold. It was in her lymphnodes and spine! I just lost it. I cried all the way home and a few hours after.
Cynthia started chemo and a few months later I attended another of her Hope Weeks. Those would be the pictures with her cute flashy hat! She had lost her hair. When I arrived at the hotel she called me to her right away and took her hat off to show me. She was gorgeous but my heart was breaking for her. During the 5 day stay she missed a few session due to being ill but pushed through.
The cancer came back with a vengeance and she was no longer able to do Hope Weeks. What amazes me is she was given maybe a year to live and she lived 6. She passed away in August 2003. She spoke all over the country on God's love and eating disorders. She would come home to get chemo as the tumors in her spine kept returning and doctors told her not to go on speaking engagements but she did anyway and defied the odds for years after her death sentence.
Cynthia always wanted a Hope House where women with eating disorders could go to get support or stay for a few days. She spoke about this with a few of us that night at dinner. I had always hoped I could help her with it until the cancer returned. My hope is to keep her memory alive and someday speak as she did using her name and her love for other's and strong faith in Christ.
I love you Cynthia and you are greatly missed~