Every Tuesday, a group of women meets to walk, talk and have lunch together in the Tri-Cities. They all have one thing in common: they beat cancer.
"Someone who has gone through cancer understands a little more," said Madlynn Wiltz of Kennewick. "We talk about cancer a lot. If someone is down, we see what we can do. If we find some good information, we pass it along."
Most of the women met last year while going through Cancer WellFit, a post-treatment exercise program at the Tri-City Court Club and the Tri-Cities Cancer Center. The class met Tuesdays and Thursdays, so several of them decided to go out to lunch together every Tuesday.
They kept it up after the class ended, so they call themselves "Tuesday's Girls."
About 10 are in the group at any one time. Most went through Cancer WellFit together, and some have joined since.
Wiltz, 73, was diagnosed with breast cancer last year. She said the impromptu support group has been a blessing.
"We've helped one another through some downs, and we celebrate the ups," she said.
For Pat Scott, 62, Tuesday's Girls has helped her fit in better to a new community. She retired as a cook for the Grandview School District and moved to Kennewick to be closer to family.
She survived ovarian cancer, which she was diagnosed with in 2006, just a few months after her husband died. She went through treatment and appeared to be free of cancer, but more was discovered last year during gall bladder surgery. After treatment, she entered the Cancer WellFit class.
"The second time was a blessing because I got to meet such nice people," she said. "We all have something in common. It's a real bond, and there's not a single subject we don't talk about."
In March 2010, Sylvia Dement was diagnosed with stage 3A breast cancer, and she didn't necessarily want to talk to others about it, mostly because she didn't want to feel like she was burdening anyone. Dement, 59, of Kennewick, endured a mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation.
"I'm the one who has had everything," she said with a hearty laugh. "As I went through these treatments, I couldn't talk to anybody because you could see the fear."
In addition to walking and talking, several also get together for other activities, including watercolor and jewelry-making classes, various activities at the cancer center and even cruises on the Columbia River.
As terrible as battling cancer was for Tuesday's Girls, they are thankful to have each other as a result.
"There's nothing like friends," Scott said. "Friends are just special."
Anyone who would like to join Tuesday's Girls can email Pat Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org.