Music was playing, people were having fun, and smiles were plenty. A few moments later, a pair of bright blue eyes and an even brighter personality made their way down the stairs. A little bit of fuzz covered the head of a woman with a beautiful smile. Her fun summer dress matched her fun nature as she introduced herself: "How'd you know it was me?" she playfully asked.
Linda Quick of Marietta was having a celebration. She beat breast cancer 10 years ago, only to have it return. She was told she would have to undergo chemo again. In anticipation of losing her hair, she asked to have her good friend, Deborah Deavers of Hair By the Square, shave her head.
However, the chemo treatments took her hair sooner than she expected. But the party still had to go on. Her younger brother, Johnny Addertion, and son-in-law, Matt Haney, were still game and volunteered to have their heads shaved. As Deavers draped the willing participants, there were laughs, a few beads of nervous sweat and a spirit of love.
"It's not the idea that they are losing their hair," Quick said to the crowd gathered in her living room. "It's the idea of supporting me."
Then, another surprise: Her 6-year-old grandson, Owen Lawson, made the decision to sit in the chair. A few minutes and a funky Mohawk later, he said he decided to do it for his "Nana."
Again, this was a party. It was a celebration of life, survival support, friendship and love.
Quick said she was diagnosed with cancer in January. She said it started out as breast cancer but has metastasized into bone cancer. She said the news was devastating.
"It's like, 'Are you kidding me? I've done this one time,'" she recalled. "'I'm sick as a dog. I don't want this.'"
Quick said her oncologist and radiologist were surprised as well: "At 10 (years), it's almost unheard of, and that's what shocked everybody."
She said her type of cancer - ductal carcinoma - is the most common and most curable. Quick said she undergoes chemotherapy every 21 days and will likely have eight treatments. She said she gets "really sick" for about four days but "after that I have a normal life."
However, she emphasizes that cancer does return - "bottom line."
"Women, men - it doesn't matter," she said. "They need to understand it does come back and that's not necessarily a bad thing. The bad thing is when you are not prepared for it."
When it comes to beating cancer, Quick said, "Attitude is everything. "If you think you will be sick and die, then the likelihood is you will be sick and die."
She said when she was diagnosed, everyone was "doom and gloom." The party was her way of rejuvenating her loved ones.
"For my support system to be positive, they needed to see me be positive," she said. "This has been such a booster for them."
Addertion said his sister's diagnosis has been "devastating" to deal with. However, he said his sister is strong and never complains: "We worry about her not worrying enough."
She said the biggest thing people can do for loved ones diagnosed with cancer is simply knowing what to say. She said, "Just simply say 'I'm sorry' or 'What can I do?'"
Advocacy work is also big part of her cancer experience. Some of her volunteer efforts with the American Cancer Society include public relations efforts through its Public Speakers Bureau, Relay for Life, and a regional coordinator for Reach to Recovery, part of political action committee.
She said one can have cancer and live a productive life, saying "I have fun as much as I can." This fun side was displayed at the celebration as she paraded through the crowd as a blonde, brunette and a redhead. However, a blue bob with bangs got the biggest reaction.
Quick also has a theme song, "I am Not My Hair" by India.Arie. She said her twin sister, Brenda, sent her the song. The lyrics mention a woman going through chemotherapy.
She advises people to continue routine exams post-cancer. While she said while some mark two, five and 10 years as milestones, she encourages continual exams. Her cancer was detected during a routine visit to her oncologist.
Quick said having cancer return is scary, but it's not the biggest hurdle she has had to face. Jumping out of a plane was.
After divorce and illness, Quick said wanted to do something that was a bigger risk than what she had been through, so she decided to go skydiving a few years ago. She said it has been the scariest thing she's done - so far. Now she's considering taking on zip lining.
"What I'm facing now is really scary, but it's won't be the scariest," she said. "I intend for the zip line to be the scariest thus far - unless I change it. I am considering hang gliding."