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Glassybaby founder Lee Rhodes

Entrepreneur Magazine has chosen Glassybaby founder Lee Rhodes as Entrepreneur of 2011. She’s the first woman to receive the honor, and the first from the Pacific Northwest.

The magazine, which plans to honor Rhodes and two others next month at a ceremony in California, says her mission of easing “the struggles of cancer patients makes her a rarity: a businessperson in both head and heart.”

A spokeswoman for the company added:

“We are especially thrilled the magazine is honoring a company with a product handmade in Seattle and one that gives back money from sales to charities dedicated to healing and helping cancer patients with day to day needs during chemotherapy.”

Rhodes founded Glassybaby, a maker of handblown glass votives, after her third bout with cancer. To date, the 10-year-old company has donated more than $650,000 to charities supporting cancer patients and research.

The company is backed by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, and earlier this year named former Alliance of Angels managing director Greg Huey as president and chief operating officer. The glass votives sell for $40, and the company is on pace to hit $6 million in revenue this year.

In addition to Rhodes, who was honored as entrepreneur of the year, the magazine recognized Adam Nelson as Emerging Entrepreneur of 2011 and Gabriella Palermo who was chosen as College Entrepreneur of 2011.

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