"I'm ready for my close-up.” Doesn’t that simple phrase just evoke all kinds of glamorous images? That line was on repeat in my head while I enjoyed the two Survivors’ Spa Nights at the Pink House for Carolina Breast Friends.
The Survivors’ Spa Night program that Carolina Breast Friends holds each year has grown to the point that it now spans two nights! It is a fantastic opportunity for women to come together, enjoy some tasty nibbles and delightful sips while they indulge in an evening of beauty. This year’s event was also the kickoff of the “Be You, Be Beautiful” program that will become a monthly session on hair, wigs, scarves, makeup and skin care tips for breast cancer Survivors at any point in their journey. As a volunteer with Carolina Breast Friends I spent much of my time during the two nights talking to several participating Survivors in addition to the stylists and massage therapists who donated their time and talents.
I vividly recalled how I felt when I was in active treatment; sore from surgeries, bald from chemo, and bloated from steroids. Let me tell you, an entire team of fairy godmothers bibbidi-bobbidi-booing couldn’t get this Cinderella grocery store worthy, never mind ball ready. I didn’t feel special. I didn’t think about being pampered. I was just trying to get from one day to the next with a swipe of lip-gloss and a wisp of mascara on whatever eye lashes remained. I think that is a common feeling amongst my fellow Survivor sistahs. We arrive into Cancertown so fast we never once stop to say, “hey, what about me?”
Well, this event is all about the me, the you, the person you were before cancer came calling. As I walked through the Pink House I saw so many smiling faces. Genuinely happy women talking with each other, showing off their newly made up faces, fabulous eyelashes, and freshly manicured nails. They raved about the massages and hairstyling. They chatted up all the volunteers from salons, beauty schools and therapy centers. They were engaged and present and the joy was palpable. While we are well aware that oncologists and surgeons work on healing our bodies, the stylists and massage therapists spent this time healing our souls.
Throughout the course of the evening numerous volunteers openly shared stories about how cancer has touched their lives and how they loved the opportunity to give back, to help these ladies remember who they were before and who they will be after. It was deeply personal for everyone involved. One of the most poignant observations made by a make-up artist was simply this, “In a world where we witness bullying, negativity and trolling, it’s amazing to see a house full of women supporting each other. The kindness and compassion here is overwhelming.” She got a little choked up as she said this, her eyes filling with tears … and dare I say a lump formed in my throat as well. Looking at it from that perspective was a strong reminder that kindness matters, above all else, followed by support and love and compassion. All of that and more was on display in a gently lit historic Charlotte home bathed in soft shades of pink. The color of sisterhood and power and women and love and beauty.
Thank you to all of the local Charlotte metro businesses that helped this endeavor: Denise Antonacci Salon, Paul Mitchell the School Charlotte, Laurie Laine Hair and Beauty, Hair Majesty LLC, CLT Maskcara Beauty with Blakeley Shea, Color Chaos, Gigi's Cupcakes Charlotte, North Carolina, Wholefoods Market Charlotte, Flowers By Brooke, Dogwood Southern Table and Bar, Janice Jefferis, Bertha Helms from Dilworth Salon, Lauren Brown, Middleton Wig Care, Melissa Smith - American Massage Therapy Association, Summer Maiden - a massage Therapist from My Kneads, Misty Stinson, Apothic Spa, and Serenity Now Massage Therapy.