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From Cancer Patient to a Multimillion-Dollar Beacon of Hope How Lee Rhodes went from battling illness to creating a votive and candleholder company that offers comfort to consumers and financial support to cancer patients.

By Gwen Moran

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Businesses often start with a "light-bulb" moment, but Lee Rhodes' Madrona, Wash.-based Glassybaby kicked off with a flicker instead.

In 1998, Rhodes was raising three young children while battling a rare form of lung cancer. Exhausted, afraid and enduring her third round of chemotherapy, she found immediate comfort in the light of the votive candleholder her husband brought home from his glass-blowing class.

Rhodes was inspired to create--and start selling--a line of votives. Over the next three years, she worked with various artists to perfect her designs before selling them out of her garage. She also gave the pieces as gifts to friends and acquaintances battling cancer.