Photography by Gianna Grace Photography
Meet Kathleen. She is Beauty Revived.
When you meet Kathleen the first thing you notice is her giant smile. Her face is framed with a genuine kindness, sincere eyes, and a humble demeanor that puts you at ease. Her smile is one of someone who knows their path. Someone who knows that she is blessed. A loving mom and wife, a dedicated daughter and sister, a selfless friend, and an inspirational educator.
From the time she was a little girl she knew her calling was to teach. She wanted to make a difference with her students- to inspire, encourage, and help them find their true potential. Life was going according to plan and it felt pretty near perfect. She had met the man of her dreams; they had built a wonderful home together, gotten married, and had a beautiful little girl. But just when you think you have your whole plan figured out, God shows you there is a different plan in mind. One you may not understand yet- but it’s all part of his beautiful masterpiece.
There are a few times in life when words really can change everything. A simple phrase that rings in your ears, stops time completely, and makes all reality fade away. It can be something amazing- “you are going to be a parent”, “will you marry me?” or “you got the promotion.”
For Kathleen those words hit her in March of 2016 and they weren’t the amazing ones she was hoping for. They were – “you have cancer.”
Time stood still.
Some people would curl up into a ball and let cancer consume them. Not Kathleen. This has never been her way. First order of business- she recruited her husband to shave her head before chemo could take her hair. Her husband became her biggest supporter. Kathleen was in the home stretch of her school year, she was worried how her kids would adjust. How would the react? How would this affect them? It was never about her.
As chemo progressed Kathleen continued to empower herself. Instead of feeling sorry for herself, she befriended her nurses, networked with other patients, stayed in touch with her students, and prayed! She bought her first graders a book about cancer and losing your hair and had it sent to school so they could learn about what was going on. And as soon as she was well enough, it was her first priority visit them. She was filled with positivity that she would beat her disease, and filled with hope that she would never take this life for granted again.
The one thing that was keeping her up at night was what could have caused this cancer in the first place. After researching possible culprits she discovered some huge flaws in our personal care industry – all the sunscreen, lotions, and makeup that she was putting on her skin was full of toxic and potentially cancer causing ingredients. She learned that the United States hadn’t passed a major federal law to regulate safe ingredients in personal care products since 1938. Even though the European Union bans over 1,300 chemicals in products, the United States has only banned 11.
So while she was in the hospital, hooked up to chemo, she joined a movement called Beautycounter: a company devoted to progress, making the world healthier, and creating safer products that she and her family could trust. It has become her passion not just to protect her body moving forward, but to educate and protect her friends and family as well.
In August 2016 Kathleen heard another life changing phrase: “you’re in remission.” She had beaten cancer. With her new lease on life she promptly got back to the classroom with a new group of first grade students.
If you ask Kathleen about her journey- she never says anything negative. In fact, everything she will say is the complete opposite. Cancer helped her see life in a completely different light. It bonded she and her husband more than most couples will ever know. It made her an even better mother. It brought her closer to her parents and her brother. It made her a more thoughtful and selfless friend. And it made her even more dedicated to her students and her passion of inspiring and making an impact on them. Most of all, it deepened her faith. She wore a bracelet during the entirety of her chemo and she continues to wear it today. It is engraved with Psalm 30:2, which reads: “Lord my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me.” It’s a constant reminder that God has given her another shot, and she has committed to using her second chance to make a difference.
About the Photographer
Katrina is a natural light and studio photographer recently planted and blooming in Richmond, VA. Katrina specializes in High School Seniors and Dance photography. She is thankful God blessed her with creative talents and is over the moon to be a part of the Beauty Revived family. It is an honor and privieldge give back to those who give so much to making this world a better place!