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Geneva entrepreneur to appear on "Oprah"

By Leslie Hague

Daily Herald Staff Writer

Posted Tuesday, April 19, 2005

When Renee Wood watches a segment featuring her today on The Oprah Winfrey Show, the interview will be as new to her as anyone else.“After the show taping, I asked my husband, 'What did I say?' " said Wood, a Geneva resident. “He said, 'I have no idea'.  "I answered the questions without stuttering, and I think I made sense.”

The nervous couple are scheduled to be on TV today as part of the Oprah show's fifth anniversary show for "O, The Oprah Magazine."  Producers picked Wood to be on the show because of an e-mail she sent them detailing how an article in the magazine had helped change her life.  The article, "How to Make Your Dreams Come True: A Step-by-Step Guide," inspired Wood to start her own business, she said.  "It made you think, what is it that you'd really like to do?  For me, that was a business run from my home, because I have four kids." 

So five years ago, she started The Comfort Company, which specializes in unique bereavement gifts, including tear bottles, garden stepping stones and memorial jewelry.  An Oprah crew came to her house last Monday to tape Wood and her children playing and working to mail packages, and last Tuesday drove her and her husband to Chicago for a show taping.

Originally, Wood wasn't scheduled to be interviewed on the show, but producers pulled her on stage while her home segment was airing, she said.  Winfrey told Wood that her e-mail, in which Wood said the article “changed the trajectory of my life,” was her favorite to read.  With the article and other things happening in her life, the business came together, Wood said.  “It sounds kind of corny, but I don’t know how many people can wake up every morning and have a real, true understanding of how precious life is,” she said. “Every day I talk to people who have lost their loved ones. Every day I wake up and understand that there's no guarantees. I just feel really blessed.”

The show is scheduled to air on Channel 7 at 9 a.m. and 11:05 p.m.