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My involvement with Susan G Komen for the Cure began in 2005 when my mom found out she had breast cancer. Before this time, I had casually sent in donations to support the fight, but until this point, had not taken an active role in the organization. This was about to change as I became directly affected by the disease.
My mom and I were best friends. We owned a wholesale beauty products distribution company together, vacationed together, and truly respected one another’s abilities and loved being around one another.
My mom came from a hairdressing background and enjoyed making people feel good about themselves.
She always made “giving back” part of our family as well as business lives.
When we first got the news of her contracting breast cancer, I figured, just like all other adversity we had encountered, my mom would conquer this disease, and we would move on to our next battle. We would make this cause something we helped others overcome as well by being part of the movement.
In 2005, in a very small way, I began a message of pink in our beauty business. I collaborated with our customers and hosted my first “pink social” where I put together a party for stylists in the area to come mingle, network, dress in pink, and become part of a “cause” while having fun at the same time. All money raised was donated to Susan G Komen for the Cure.
Unfortunately, breast cancer was something, my mom and I did not overcome, and, in the fall of 2006, September 12 to be exact- the day in my life I never imagined- happened.
A day where my mother was no longer here on earth.
I was stunned to say the least. At first, I just felt numb and wished somehow, some way this was not true. I thought-please let me wake up and have this just be the worst dream possible, but reality did sink in, and I searched for a method to cope.
I searched for a way to remember my mom. I wanted to involve the industry she so passionately loved. I wanted to be able to share her story of all the good deeds she had done here on earth, and, in her memory, help others win their battle against this disease.
I decided to “go very pink,” and began a multitude of fundraisers. I began what I would call my own crusade. I involved the industry I grew up in as my platform, and enlisted an army of stylist and salon owners in just about every pink project I could think of.
The list of projects that I have implemented over the years include cut a thons, pink galas, raffles, silent auctions, pink ribbon campaigns, t-shirt sales, luncheons, fashion shows and just about any other creative “pink” idea that my team wanted to implement including selling “pink” hair extensions for those who wanted to make pink hair an accessory with a message.
Being able to create an army dedicated to the mission of ending breast cancer, and being able to share my mom’s spirit with so many, has helped me not take my relationship with her for granted. It has helped me realize it was a present. I have learned this gift was given to me so I would be empowered to help others just as she spent her life doing. I know I need to help those who are less fortunate and to teach others how we can all make a difference.
Over the past 5 years, with the help of hundreds of like minded stylists in the area and the many others we recruited to become part of our events, I have been able to raise 262,000 for the SGK organization and have brought awareness and educated many on “good health.” I will not stop fundraising until our mission is accomplished. This mission is “to live in a world where breast cancer in longer exists.”
At this point, I want to leave you with the words of a very special woman, my mother, and those words are “remember, anything is possible as long as you are willing to work hard for it.”
Let us make sure we do that and keeping collaborating and working towards
“a world without breast cancer.”