How Hello Gorgeous! continues to impact the community
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- “After I had the chemotherapy and I lost all of my hair which I thought was not going to be a big deal because you can just wear a scarf or wig or something, but it was a big deal when I looked in the mirror and did not recognize myself,” says Juanita Whitacre.
Juanita got the call-in March of 2020. Breast cancer. Stage 3.
“Not only do you lose the hair on your head which you think about but you also lose all of your eyebrows and eyelashes and you completely lose yourself and self-confidence,” says Whitacre.
But it did not take long for the community to show their love. That summer, Juanita was surprised by Hello Gorgeous! at an event at the Wellfield Botanic Gardens in Elkhart.
“I am not used to having other people do things for me, I like to do things for other people,” says Whitacre.
“So for most women, and for specially a women who is caring and giving and self-sacrificing like Juanita is like, for people in need, people who need encouragement people who need actually help in their homes, those kind of people are hesitant to ask for help and to receive help,” says Tammy Magaldi. “So the thing about this is the surprise element because I am not sure without the surprise element if Juanita would have said yes.”
When Tammy heard of Juanita’s diagnosis, she knew she had to do something, and that is why she called Hello Gorgeous!
“She is always beautiful, she is beautiful she was beautiful through all of her treatments but there was something there was a glow about her that day.” Says Magaldi.
Juanita is known in the community as a role model for many in their faith journey. Her selflessness, and love for others radiates. In fact, she has created a Facebook community that connects those in need with each other, a way for people to show one another they care. While her continued love to serve is admirable, it was Hello Gorgeous who wanted to love Juanita in return.
“We get asked the question a lot do we only help women and my answer is always yes, when a woman gets diagnosed with cancer, cancer steals everything that makes her feel like a woman,” says Kim Becker, Co-Founder of Hello Gorgeous!
Hello Gorgeous! is a non-profit focused on providing resources for women battling cancer. The organization has been serving the Michiana community and beyond since 2006 by offering makeovers, education and more. All with the hope to empower women to feel strengthened and loved as they go through this battle.
“As woman, we identify with our appearance, good or bad that is what we do,” says Becker. “Women are selfless, they will not do things for themselves that they will do for others”
At the start of the pandemic, co-founder, Kim Becker, had to find another way to reach these women when in person was not an option. So, Hello Gorgeous! began sending virtual makeovers which included boxes of products and tutorials on makeup application.
The option has stuck even 2 years later now allowing the nonprofit to impact women across the country.
“The descriptive terms these women were using about how the way they felt after their virtual makeover were the same terms they were using after the in-person makeovers,” says Becker.
Kim explains for as long as cancer is around, she will be around, too.
“It is the pictures of the women, the women that feel hopeless and desperate, you do not know what you do not know, so when I get to see them smile because of the impact our program,” says Becker.
Juanita rang the bell in September following her treatments praising gratitude for her support system and her faith.
“I trust in God and believe that he is with me all of the time, and that knowledge helps me to go through all of the things that life throws at you.”