Over the past several years I have been involved in numerous charity events. Raising money for the Alzheimer’s Association, donation drives for displaced families from natural disasters, and even hosting exchange students from other countries. But the one that always impacts me the most is the annual Makeover Marathon for fighters and survivors of cancer. This charity event was founded by two women I went to high school with; one a make up artist, the other a hair stylist and owner of a salon in Loomis, Ca. These two beautiful souls came together four years ago to give back the best way they knew how, by making people feel beautiful.
Each year, The Makeover Marathon team gives out makeovers to warriors who have faced cancer. The receive hair styling, make up applications, professional photo shoots and glam bags filled with donated items. This year I was in charge of filling the glam bags.
When I took on this task I didn’t realize how much work was actually involved in receiving donations. Countless hours of emailing, phone calls and meetings to get samples of lip-gloss. You would think that “cancer fighters” would be an instant trigger for companies to donate. It wasn’t that easy. I heard the word no far more than yes. Every time I felt discouraged, enraged even, I reminded myself that it wasn’t about me, but about the women.
A Whole Knew Look
The day of the event came quickly and all the hard work of every volunteer was on showcase. As the guests started to arrive I circled the room, listening in on different conversations. Women brought their families, neighbors and friends with them to share in the day. We poured mimosas, took pictures and laughed. But the best moment came during a makeover for a 68-year-old survivor. After receiving her hair and make up styling, she stood up and walked to the mirror.
“Is that really me?” she asked as a tear streamed down her face. “I haven’t seen that woman in ages.”
This beautiful woman had been so beaten down by the cards she was dealt, but in one afternoon she regained her confidence and hope for the future. It’s those moments that make all the late nights, long phone calls and hearing “no” more than “yes” worth it.
Sometimes we don’t get the “thank you” we want after doing work for others, but when that thank you does come, know it’s sincere. It has the power to soften the hardest of hearts, and warm the coldest of souls. The power of giving back will restore your faith in humanity. I look forward to doing more charity and receiving all the feel good vibes as the highest form of payment.