Photography by Allison Gipson Photography
Meet Helen. She is Beauty Revived.
When the email was opened and read about a beautiful story of true love, selflessness and hard word – it was incredibly clear that Helen McCracken embodied everything this campaign stands for. Her sweet and caring daughter, Jenny wrote this incredible nomination and story. I find it fitting to share the nomination in its entirety Poignant, powerful and fluid – she explains why her mother is the epitome of beauty and strength.
As Jenny wrote —
“I would like to nominate my mother, Helen. My mother was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1962. The oldest of six, she worked hard in school and towards a career in nursing. My mother brought home what money she could to help with her family, and also helped out with her younger siblings. Oh the wild stories she would tell me when she worked in the hospital! From drunken incidents with patients to kicking out U2 from the ER to tend to their friend.
One trip across Europe with a tour group, she got to talking to my father, Alfie, in France. He was also from Ireland and traveling with the same group. From there they had deep conversations and became friends. Of course, this was the time before cell phones, and not many had home phones. So – love was left to chance.
One day, some time later, my mother and grandmother were walking down the street in town, and my mom bumped into my dad! Quickly they didn’t let the opportunity go to waste and exchanged numbers: my father’s family having a house phone, whilst my mother would use the pay phone down the street in order to chat to my father.
Over a few years of dating, my father popped the question under a famous clock tower in town. Ever the planners, they saved and bought a house, and over the course of a year they slowly furnished it, never living in it until after “I do”.
Flash forward years later, my sister and I were born. Christine being 3, and I, a little over a year, my mother was offered a job in Hawaii! Thrilled and scared, my parents took the plunge and moved us to the states. There, my brother was born. Not long after, we moved to Florida for several months, then landing ourselves in North Carolina.
There, my mother continued to work at the hospital, as my father went back to school for his degree in Respiratory Therapy at Duke University. Around the age of 7, my mother began homeschooling my sister and I, while my brother was in preschool. Juggling, she always made time for everything on her plate.
We eventually all moved back to Hawaii in 1999 and have been here ever since. My mother is the strongest woman I know. She has never wavered in goals she sets for herself, never gives up on herself or others. My mother is the type of person where you just feel happy. She is sunshine. She had always taken care of her babies, as well as countless others in the NICU. My mother was even featured briefly on Oprah for caring nurses in Hawaii working with premature infants.
My mother is an absolute work horse, but a fierce mother hen. My parents came together with dreams, building a family, moving to a country that was alien to them, building their own medical company and becoming their own bosses, to finally retiring late last year.
My mother and father are gearing up to move to Italy. Having my mother be nominated would mean a lot to me, as it would be a final send off before she leaves me in March. You see, my brother has moved to Kauai becoming a sports writer, my sister and her husband have moved to Ireland last November, and my husband and I are here on Oahu for the next three years, as he is in the Navy. It kills me I cannot follow, having family so far away.
My mother is a beautiful woman, even though she is modest. Over the years, my mother has struggled with her weight and self esteem, but has blossomed into the heroine I see everyday. I would love to give her a day where she could dress up and have her beauty be captured as I have always seen her.”
After working with Helen and her family – I could see how strong the bonds of family truly were. They were as – Jenny put it – sunshine, happiness and pure joy. It was a true honor to work with someone so beautiful both inside and out.