ALWAYS AND FOREVER

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ALWAYS AND FOREVER

ALWAYS AND FOREVER

There is not a doubt in my mind that Michael was my soulmate.  We had a scar in the same place on the same hand, our birthdays were 1 day apart, he always said that God did that on purpose so that he would never forget my birthday, our front teeth even crossed over the same way.  

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When we were married we had our wedding date engraved in our wedding bands.  I said we did that so that Michael would never forget our anniversary.  We also had the words “ALWAYS AND FOREVER” engraved in them as well.  We would be together always and forever.  

Michael would often smile at me and say “I was built to be married!”  I was the one that wanted the thriving successful business always wanting to accomplish more, not him.  He was perfectly content with our little 3 person family.  

When we would walk up to a checkout counter and the clerk would ask if we were together Michael’s response would be “FOREVER”.  

One of the last gifts he gave to me was a picture with the words “You will forever be my always”  He was quite the romantic.  I miss that!!!  

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Last week I was looking through the pictures on his phone to see the things that were important to him.  Of course, there were pictures of Seth and I but I found a picture that he took of his wedding band on his hand.  

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Michael loved being married, as I did.  He took his vows very seriously.  I was lucky to be married to the man of my dreams, my soulmate, my best friend. I miss Michael every minute of every day.   If given the chance to do it all over again, I would.  I wouldn’t change a thing.  I realize that I have experienced a love that some people never get to feel.    This outcome of ours has caught me off guard.  I truly believed that we would be married forever and we were married forever, forever for Michael.  What an incredible gift he was to me.   

ALWAYS AND FOREVER.   

 

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 THE Perfect Funeral

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 THE Perfect Funeral

 THE Perfect Funeral

I planned a lot of things for Michael in our life together.  I planned our wedding, he did help,  but I did most of the planning.  I planned a surprise trip to  Puerta Vallarta for His 40th birthday.  I surprised him with a party for his 40th and 50th birthdays.  I planned the vacations the date nights you name it, I was the planner in the marriage and I enjoyed it.   Now mind you he went along with whatever I planned but I was the planner.    Planning the perfect send off for his funeral was the last thing I would ever get to do for him so I wanted to make it great!  

I don’t know that there is such a thing as a Perfect funeral but if there is my husband had one.  What an amazing celebration of life and an incredible send off for him.  

For years, thinking this wouldn’t happen until he was 96 years old, Michael had talked about the type of funeral that he wanted.  He shared with me that he wanted an Irish Wake.  He wanted a festive environment where people were happy and remembering him in a positive way.  

I wanted to make sure that I honored Michael’s wishes and then some.  

We indeed had an Irish wake for his viewing.  People stood in line for 2hours at the funeral home to pay their respects but once they were inside they didn’t leave.  We had 3 bars set up with a 2drink maximum. The room was electric with stories and laughter reliving the incredible life that Michael had lived.  There were hundreds of people that came to say goodbye to him and a hundred or so that stayed throughout the night.  

Michael’s favorite bible verse was Psalm 139:14 “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”  I had red bracelets that held that verse on it and they were handed to each of the attendees so that they could remember Michael and that they too are fearfully and wonderfully made.  

The next day was the funeral.  The time had come to say our final goodbyes but I even wanted that to be a celebration.  Michael was a graduate of Purdue University.  I arranged for the Boilermaker Special to lead the way from the funeral home to the church.  The church was filled with so many people who loved him.  I had the honor of eulogizing Michael.  No one knew him that way that I did and I wanted to share what an amazing life he had lived. I was able to deliver this without a tear, which for those of you that know me, that is quite the feet.  But it was for Michael and I found some added strength for him that day.   A former Gorgeous! Woman, someone that had received a makeover from Hello Gorgeous! Sang on Eagles wings.  As the Catholic mass ended, a bagpiper played Amazing Grace and led us out of the church.  The Boilermaker Special led the procession from the church to the cemetery and honked the horn and blew the whistle the entire way.    As it pulled into the cemetery it fittingly played the Purdue Fight Song.  Michael was placed in his final resting place and I couldn’t have been more at peace.  I loved him so very much,  this was my last chance to do something special for him.  I had so much joy in my heart for Michael.   It was the absolute perfect send off for my hero, the love of my life.  

I could not stop smiling.  It was perfect! Absolutely perfect.   It was everything I wanted for him, everything he would have loved and more.  It was the ultimate gift and the last thing that I had the opportunity to plan for him.  It was truly a celebration and a testament to a life well lived.  

As I stated in the beginning I don’t know if there is such a thing as a perfect funeral but if there is Michael had one.  I hope that all of you reading this have that special someone that will give you the perfect send off to your well lived life.  

 

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…….In Sickness and Health,  Till Death Do Us Part

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…….In Sickness and Health,  Till Death Do Us Part

…….In Sickness and Health,  Till Death Do Us Part

A few weeks ago, I attended my first wedding since Michael passed away.  It was hard as I am sure all of the firsts will be.  As I listened to the newlywed’s take their vows I wanted to interject “Watch out for the ‘In Sickness and In Health’ part it will get you every time.” 

I was brought back to my own wedding day and thinking nothing of taking that vow, “In sickness and in health until death do us part”.  My mindset was of a young couple that had their entire life ahead of them.  We were invincible back then, we would be young forever and never get sick. It would always be like this, so I thought.  

3 years into our marriage Michael was diagnosed with Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis – a liver disease.  He would fight this for more than 21 years.  

Our new normal became doctor visits, emergency runs to the hospital and countless hospital stays due to fevers and infections.  It certainly wasn’t the future we had planned for ourselves but I was brought back to those vows “in sickness and in health” and we did what we needed to do.

As I look back now on Michael’s life this illness never defined him and it never stopped him.  We went – we did – we saw.  We not only packed socks and underwear for our trips, we packed the necessary medical supplies, which sometimes included a lymphedema pump that required its own suitcase.  We mapped out the closest hospitals to where we were staying, just in case.  We even started a family.  This disease was simply an inconvenience not a showstopper.   

We were so very lucky because Michael never acted sick nor did he look sick.  

I remember the doctors at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, looking at Michael then looking at his medical records.  They were in disbelief that that the medical records that they were reading belonged to the patient that was sitting in front of them.      

The last 9 months of Michael’s life were the toughest.  The 20 year plus long battle had started to take its toll and he started to look ill.  I hated the eyes of pity that were placed on him but I knew in my heart of hearts that he would once again pull through this and Michael would be that strong healthy man that I married.  

Unfortunately, God had other plans and needed my strong husband with Him.

I am so grateful for the 24 years I had with Michael.  His life was cut short but it was so full. I can say that he lived every moment full out and he never let his illness define him or stop him.  

We honored our vows to each other “in sickness and in health to death do us part”. 

I just didn’t think the “death do us part” would happen so soon.  

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Today I would have been married to my best friend for 24 years!

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Today I would have been married to my best friend for 24 years!

“How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard” ~~Winnie the Pooh

Today I would have been married to my best friend for 24 years.  We almost made it.  It was cut short by 8 weeks.  As you can imagine I think of Michael often.  I am so very lucky to have been married to such an amazing man.  Although I feel that I have lost 3 people, my husband, my best friend and my business partner.  

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I want to share our love story, in my mind it was a perfect love story.  I met Michael playing volleyball at the church I belonged to.  We played on Sunday evenings.  We were fast friends and I liked it that way.  Then on April 21st 1991, Michael kissed me for the 1st time.  I can tell you I saw stars.  I had heard people talk about that but I experienced it.  I knew that there was something very special about him.  We had such a unique bond I could talk to him about anything.  He was this big strong guy than ran a warehouse, with a heart of gold.  I felt so safe when I was with him.  

We dated for 14 months and on June 10th 1992 Michael proposed.  I will never forget it.  From the time that we met he had worn a beard and mustache.  The week after he proposed he shaved it off.  He looked so different.  I couldn’t look at him.  I would say “You sound like my Michael but you don’t look like him.”  He had such a baby face. He wanted to make sure that I saw the “real him”, the person I would be spending the rest of my life with.  

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We were engaged for 14 months and were married on August 21st, 1993.  It was a perfect Saturday.  It rained just a little early in the day, which I read was good luck on your wedding day.  The sky turned a beautiful light blue and there were huge fluffy clouds in the sky.  Michael had a dozen red roses and a flask that read “DRINK ME” delivered to the church while I got ready for our big day.   

I remember him wiping the tears off of my cheeks as we stood at the altar.  He was such a kind and giving soul.  He just kept saying “It’s okay baby, don’t cry.”  

We hosted 350 for a Polish style Hawaiian luau.   It was so festive.  Everyone received a lei as they arrived at our reception and we had a disposable camera on every table so that we wouldn’t miss a thing that day.   Our wedding cake was a 6 tier banana nut cake and my best friend wore a chicken head as we danced to the traditional chicken dance.    The bar closed that night and we still had well over 100 people still there.  I always chalked that up to a successful wedding reception.

Of course, this wild life together couldn’t get started without a medical emergency.  Michael got food poisoning from a local restaurant the day after our wedding which delayed our departure for our honeymoon by 1 day.  We were still able to enjoy 12 wonderful days in Cancun Mexico filled with great food, lots of sun and a daily siesta.  One evening we took a booze cruise for an island dinner where Michael won a sexy leg contest.  He was always very proud of that award. 

We wrote our own ending to our love story.  We made a pact with one another and we pinky swore to make it official.   Michael would be 96 years old and I would be 90, our demise would come as a result of crashing our Red Maserati on the Autobahn.   Although our love story had a different ending than what we had planned I can say that I was lucky to have been married to my soulmate, my best friend, the one who completed me and for that I am forever grateful.  

Happy Anniversary Michael.  I love you!!!  

 

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The Show Must Go On!

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The Show Must Go On!

The Show Must Go On!

This past Monday marked the 6 week anniversary of Michael’s passing.  It truly is a minute by minute these days, one minute I’m ok and the next minute I am not.    Each day we try instill a little bit of normalcy.  I knew that this trip to New York was coming up was going to be a difficult one.  I looked to find all of the courage that I have left inside of me to make this trip happen.  I wanted to give to the salon everything that I had so that they would be successful with our salon affiliate program.  

I cannot even begin to tell you the mixture of emotions that I had traveling to New York to open our 1st affiliate there.  I was fearful of leaving Seth for the 1st time as a single parent and at the same time there was a bit of joy that we were going to expand the dream that has been placed in my heart but has now become Michael’s Legacy.  

It had been awhile since I had certified a salon but it was truly just like riding a bike. The words flowed easily and the knowledge was shared with a very giving team that is excited to share their gifts and talents with a woman battling cancer.  It wasn’t until the very end of the certification that my tears flowed as I explained to them the loss of Michael and the crater that he has left in our lives. 

The next day our Gorgeous! Woman arrived and was very deserving of a day of pampering.  As I watched everything come together I saw the light that was dimmed inside of her become brighter and shine like I imagine it hadn’t done in a very long time.  

Once again, I teared up knowing that THIS was Michael’s favorite part of what we do.  Nothing made him happier than watching this transformation take place.  He loved to watch the “real” smile emerge that came from pure joy of her feeling normal.  I remember him not wanted to see her until her transformation was complete.  He wanted to experience the magic of her before and after.

My heart hurt yesterday not being able to text him the before and after picture as I did so many times.  I missed hearing him call me after the makeover and say “You did a good job Kimmer!” 

But I am at peace knowing that he is with us watching over us and now watching over this salon affiliate team in Baldwinsville and our newest Gorgeous! Woman. 

Every night I write a letter to Michael to tell him about the events of our day.  I started the letter out with “You would have been so proud of me today.”  And I could hear him say  ” I am always proud of you.”  

The Show must go on because that is truly what Michael would have wanted.  

“It’s All About The Women”
~Michael Becker,  Founder of Hello Gorgeous! Of Hope, Inc

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MY MICHAEL

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MY MICHAEL

MY MICHAEL

This blog is to honor and celebrate the life of an amazing individual.  If you are reading this  you know what a wonderful person Michael was. 

I am overwhelmed with the outpouring of support and kindness from our community.   I can hear Michael saying when the media wanted to share his story “Why do they want to do a story on me?”

Michael was a wonderful husband, father, friend, brother and uncle. He was my rock and my biggest fan.   He never met a stranger and was the first one to say “SURE” when he was asked to help anyone with anything. 

He could figure anything out. He was a brilliant man.   He would always laugh when Seth and I would ask him questions about the most obscure things and he would always have the answer for us, and then his response would be “I’m glad that you guys think I am so smart!”

He had such a way a looking at the good in things.  He was 1st diagnosed with his liver disease in 1996 3 years after we got married.  He was grateful every day for his disease.  He would often say “I wouldn’t change a thing.”  He would explain to me how he had the opportunity to look at the world differently than most people because of his diagnosis.   Through our countless trips down to Indianapolis for treatment he never complained or got mad because all of this was happening to him.  He would tell me how lucky he was.  

Most people that were diagnosed with his disease have the larger lobe of their liver affected Michael’s started in the smaller lobe and he counted that as a win. 

As we looked through pictures and reliving memories, I noticed that in almost every picture of Michael he was smiling.   He would tell you that he had a great life.  In one of our many conversations this last couple of weeks he had looked at me and said “I am so fulfilled.”  He would tell you “I don’t need much. I’m a simple guy” And it was true.  All he ever wanted was to be happily married and to have a family.  Michael always said that Seth the greatest toy he ever received.    His infectious smile and endless optimism was inspirational.  I would say at the end of productive day “Today was a good day!”  Michael’s response to me was “EVERYDAY IS A GOOD DAY!” and he meant it.

I’m sure many of you have heard the story of Hello Gorgeous!  It was Michael that came of up the name only he didn’t know it.  And for about 6 months after I pitched the idea to him he wouldn’t talk to me about it. He would just change the subject.  He couldn’t wrap his brain around how we were going to take care of all of these women for free, but he knew that this was my dream and he would find a way to make it come true.   He lived eat and breathed for these women with cancer.  He worked tirelessly for Hello Gorgeous!  Many people  don’t know that Michael would be sitting in his hospital bed with IV’s and tubes coming out of his body and would happily answer the phone “Hello Gorgeous! This is Michael how can I help you?”  He never quit.  We had often talked that we would never retire, we would do this forever. 

A friend sent me a text and shared with me that she believed that when Michael arrived in heaven he was greeted with a great big Hello Gorgeous! By all of the women that he had helped that had gone before him.   

Right before Michael was airlifted to Indianapolis one of his doctors called me.  He told me that for the many years that he had taken care of Michael, his medical record never matched his physical body.  He said I would look at his medical record and then look at him and say he looks too good for this to be the same person. The doctor said that day “I think that his physical body and his medical record finally met up.”

It was then that I was reminded of what Michael had always said  his dream was.  He said “When my time comes, I want to use up every ounce of everything that I have. I want to go sliding into home plate with absolutely nothing left and say “ THAT WAS AWESOME!”  I feel that he achieved that.  He used up every ounce of everything he had literally until he had nothing left.  Even in the end. 

Michael was a registered organ donor.  When I received the call for IOPA they explained that Michael was eligible for organ donation but that the only thing that they could use were his eyes.  By donating his eyes Michael was able to give 2 people the gift of sight.  My hope is that the recipients of his gift are blessed to see the world as he did.  

I would like to invite each of you to remember Michael in whatever special way you choose and always remember that.

EVERYDAY IS A GOOD DAY!

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Long Lasting Effects

The Long Lasting Effect of HG!

Last month we performed a makeover at Tony Sacco’s in Mishawaka, Indiana.  Michael had an early meeting, so I dropped him off and went to work on some of my writing material.  When I returned to the bus to get ready for the makeover, I had a young woman approach my car.  She asked if I was with Hello Gorgeous!  I said yes and she explained that they had been sitting there with her mom taking pictures of the bus just waiting for someone to return to the bus.  She explained that her dad was one of the men that had worked on our buses.  His name was Ralph Gunnett.  As a matter of fact, his name is part of the logos on the bus.  Ralph was fighting cancer when Monaco was working on our buses.  Ralph was the gentleman that took all of the extra care with our little donation bus. 

It was such a wonderful treat for us to meet them again.  They had never seen the inside of the bus, so we gave them a tour and took a few photos.  

Ralph lost his battle with cancer shortly after the buses were gifted to us in 2013.

We touch so many lives in so many ways that I am not sure we have a clue.  I kept thinking about what it meant to that family to see something that a loved one had poured his heart and soul into and that it was being used for the purpose of positively impacting lives. 

What an incredible gift for us to be able to share this with them. 

On a side note, Ralph’s daughter was just visiting from Tennessee, due to a death in their family, and her husband was deployed in Iraq.  You could not wipe the smile off of her face.  PRICELESS!!!!!!!!

 

 

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Overwhelmed by the Camraderie

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"The Hello Gorgeous retreat for 2016 was my first experience in being a part of this event.  I must admit I was a little apprehensive as I did not know quite what to expect.  When I asked some other members that have attended, the only answer they could give was “you can’t really explain it, it is such an amazing experience”.   So now I was super anxious and curious.

The first couple hours was busy with getting settled in and having dinner with everyone.  Then it was on to the start of our retreat.  Still not sure what to expect, I was totally overwhelmed by the comraderie that filled the room.  I felt I was with a part of my extended family; people who had a vested interest in each other and the passion and commitment for Hello Gorgeous!

The exercises and activities were focused on our own personal growth and goals.  It gave me the ability to assess my own personal life and determine what goals I needed to achieve.  It was a true discovery of what holds me back, what hurdles or obstacles I allow to get in the way and how to put myself on a path of personal happiness and fulfillment.

It was a big awakening for me in participating in this retreat.  The biggest take away for me was the feeling of being determined to “get things done” and to stop allowing obstacles to get in the way.  The day I left, I felt renewed, positive, and happy and determined to achieve the goals I have set for myself in 2016. 

 We were also asked to pick a word that would be our word/guide for the year…my word is “faith”……faith in myself, faith in the people around me, faith in my decisions, faith that I can accomplish anything I set out to do…………RENEWED AND FULL OF FAITH!" - Pam Eichorst

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Changing Lives for the Better

The journey of life takes us in so many directions. How we interpret and act on these adventures defines us. I have been through some tough times during the last 41 years. Some were created by outside forces but most were of my own doing. It has taken courage and maturity to realize that I am in control of how I perceive the world and I am perceived. With this said, I would like to tell you a little bit about how one journey has helped me shape who I am becoming.

In 2007, a good friend and I were putting together a golf outing in memory of a friend we lost. The outing was more of a party with friends and family, but the money raised was going to be donated to a local charity. My counter part insisted that Hello Gorgeous! should receive a portion of the profits. I was reluctant at first. I had never heard of them and it still a fairly new organization. I wasn’t sure if would their program would last. Would the money be better donated to a more established group? We set up a meeting with Trisha, one of the first members of Hello Gorgeous! She spoke to us about their philosophy of transforming the inside and the oust side of a woman with cancer. I was sold.

During late summer of 2008 I was approached by Mike and Kim Becker, the founding members of Hello Gorgeous!, to volunteer for their organization. Intrigued by what I had seen, the heart and soul that they put into this charity, I agreed. That was the start of a life-changing, heart pulling journey that I will never forget.

The full name is Hello Gorgeous! of Hope, Inc. Hope, a word that denes every cancer patient with whom I have come in contact. They appear to hold on to hope every bit of strength they have left. In fact, it is the only thing, from an outsider’s perspective, they have to keep them going. Fight the good fight. I know, everybody has a different feeling or reason that they are fighting for but hope is at the base. Hope that they will beat this nasty disease, hope they will feel whole again, hope that they will see their loved ones grow old, hope that they will be able to build more loving memories.

These are the reasons why I am a part of Hello Gorgeous I have absolutely no experience in the beauty industry and yet I have seen the transformations, I have felt the thankful hugs from the Gorgeous! women and I have seen the look on the faces of the family and friends of our Gorgeous! Women. A look of joy and happiness one can not fully describe.

Lastly, I would like to thank Kim and Mike for letting me be apart of this wonderful experience. You have changed my life for the better, which in turn, helps me change the life of someone else. Godspeed my Hello Gorgeous! Family.

Thad Schmidt

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HG! and Me

I feel that I've been around since the inception of Hello Gorgeous!.  I did not have much to do with the legalese and paperwork of creating the non-profit.  However, from the moment I found out about this calling, I was in. 

It has been quite the experience to watch this dream come to fruition.  

I feel that I bring my leadership/management skills from my retail background to the executive team.  I feel that I still have so much more to give.  I am also sure that my other executive members feel the same way. This team, like other successful teams, is made of many different personalities and styles.  I feel that is what makes our executive team "special".  

Sometimes I think I've gained so much more out of this experience, than I could ever give.  That has been quite the motivator to continue to be part of the team that pushes this mission forward.  I am honored to know that I have the opportunity to be part of something that has such an impact on these women battling through some of the toughest moments in their lives.  

I would like to thank Hello Gorgeous! and ourGorgeous Women for giving more to me than they can ever understand. 

Much Love,

Dan-O

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Magical Moments

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Magical Moments

Okay, my favorite makeover over the years.  I have been pondering this question and can honestly answer... they are all my favorite! 

The 3 hours we have with these women during their makeover is magical. They are so inspiring. From a mom who devoted her life to her son, to a women in the military, to a sister that asked God to give her cancer rather than ever give it to her sisters.  I remember a principal of an elementary school, who just came back from her daughter's wedding and had too much work to do to have a makeover ( we did her visit anyway and she loved it) and a lovely gardener who use to be in the accounting department at Playboy Incorporated. They all have a heartfelt story. I am grateful, that God has given me the honor to use my talent for the greater good. Restoring the beauty that cancer steals.

It's not always the beauty on the outside that we help restore.  Sometime, most of the time, this experience also brings back that beauty in them that their disease has imprisoned on the inside. 

Trisha

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Skill and Passion

Hi! My name is Ann and I have been a part of Hello Gorgeous! for just under a year.

Hello Gorgeous! provides red-carpet experiences for woman battling all cancers through full spa, ambush-style makeovers in one of our 36’ mobile day spas or by one of our partnering affiliate salons across the United States, at no cost to our gorgeous women.  I love Hello Gorgeous for many reasons, but the top reason is seeing the transformation of a woman with cancer that takes place during a makeover.

There is nothing more rewarding than watching one of these beautiful women that, through their treatment, are experiencing all sorts of emotions like depression, anger, sadness, or just plain feeling overwhelmed by it all, get a little “break” in their life through a visit from Hello Gorgeous!.  Every step of the makeover process peels away a little of the stress that a woman goes through while fighting her cancer.  To watch her relax, and smile, and laugh, and feel more vibrant and confidant than she has felt in a long time is so emotionally rewarding to watch!

My role as an executive team member at Hello Gorgeous! is, first and foremost, to fill any needs for the organization that I am capable of doing. With that being said, I am a licensed practicing barber, so I am able to help the HG! team when we perform makeovers. I am also trained by Hello Gorgeous! to help certify salons that apply for our Salon Affiliate program. I am excited to see all of the places I might travel to and all the passionate salon owners I might meet on this part of my journey with Hello Gorgeous! 

Lastly, I have a skill and a passion for social media. For some reason, it fascinates me.  So, I am currently taking ongoing education to expand my knowledge in this area, so I can be of more help in growing Hello Gorgeous! and its social presence. The more we grow, the more women we can help. It is our passion at Hello Gorgeous to help restore the beauty that cancer steals to as many women as we possibly can.

Ann

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We Are A Family

Elissa Schmidt                  Art Director

Elissa Schmidt                  Art Director

Feb 24 at 5:25 PM

One weekend a year I get a break and I work my butt off! Well, that is not entirely true. I get more breaks than one, but I rarely step away from kids, home, dog and jobs completely. But I do (we all do) work my butt off.

One weekend a year I am focused on HG! and HG! alone. There are a ton of over-used adjectives I could throw in here to try to describe how nice it is to work on one thing, focus on each moment. But they just won't cut it . So think about if you were able to step away from home and responsibility and focus on one thing for two days that made a difference, that left a mark on someone else's world. 

No outside distractions, surrounded by people who truly want you to succeed at HG! and in your own life. Who are willing to see you, accept your truth without any fear of repercussions. People who honestly see my growth, as growth for HG! and the women we have dedicated our time to serve with some talent and a little sweat. 

And we laugh, pretty much the entire weekend. Sometime my belly hurts and my cheeks are sore because we laughed so much. Sometimes my eyes are red because we have cried and sometimes (usually Saturday night) I am so tired I can't keep my eyes open. But it is worth it. We are part of something bigger, something more important. 

We are a family

Elissa 

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A Life Worthwhile - Michael Becker

All of our lives are busy.  They are chocked full of work and kids, meals and errands, fitness and family, school and an occasional vacation, if we are fortunate.  Sometimes, there does not seem like enough hours in the day for what you have on your plate, let alone adding anything to it. Things like volunteering and charity work come last on that plate, if ever.  Most people say, "Where would I find the time," and no one would fault you for it.  That was my life growing up, and it has only been the last 25 years that I have ever found the "luxury time" to volunteer. I was not taught to volunteer growing up.  It was not part of our family culture -  volunteering is for retirees, right?  Or those so well-off that they don't need to work for a living?  Had I not been dragged to my first volunteer post kicking and screaming, I would never have experienced one of the most freeing, fulfilling, heartwarming experiences of my life.  To give of your self to others - your time, your money, your skill, your love - there is nothing else like it in the world.  

So I challenge you.  Volunteer for something in your life.  Use your talents, whatever they are, to benefit others.  Give without expectation - help someone that you wont ever receive help from yourself.  I promise you that it will have a more profound effect on YOU that it does on whomever you help.  Don't skip this part of life.  Einstein said, "Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile."  And he was the smartest man in the world, after all.

Michael

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A Heart Thing

Julene Franz

Julene Franz

Julene Franz is not only our Executiver Affiliate Coach, that goes in and certifies Affiliate Salons across the United States.  She was also one of the first salon owners to step forward and make the committment to become an Affiliate Salon in our program 5 years ago.  She and her crew at FIX Salon Spa in Elkhart , IN have performed makeovers on over 50 women battling cancer in her community.  She is a savvy and dedicated businesswoman, a caring and giving human being, and a voice in our organization.  

"Why I love Hello Gorgeous is because I can be part of something that makes a profound difference in the world and is bigger than myself. Seeing women come alive during their Hello Gorgeous makeover is something that you cannot put into words. It is a “heart” thing. . . and my heart loves it all.

I am on the Hello Gorgeous Executive Team as an Executive Salon Affiliate Coach. I have the honor of certifying new salons who become Hello Gorgeous Salon Affiliates. Maintaining a level of excellence and high standards for our women’s Hello Gorgeous Makeovers is my ultimate goal in bringing new salons on-board for this prestigious and heart-felt organization. I am beyond blessed to be a part of it."

Julene

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Wearing Many Hats

Trisha Greenlee, Creative Director since 2006

Trisha Greenlee, Creative Director since 2006

I started with Hello Gorgeous in 2005 I was fresh out of beauty school.  When my sister Kim and her husband, Mike heard their calling to start our mission of Hello Gorgeous!, my husband (who is an amazing man) and I told them that, " We are in!" 

It's been an amazing 10-year ride.  As the Creative Director, I wear many hats - from participating in Hello Gorgeous! visits, certifying our Affiliate Salons across the United States, fundraising, social media, and so much more. 

This mission from God started with $1.  We have set out to help women battling cancer nationwide. Currently, we have  two RV mobile salons, and over 35 Hello Gorgeous certified Affiliate Salons that have  additional tools to keep women safe in a salon environment. They feel pampered, pretty, and confident again.

We have had the pleasure of meeting thousands of people as we expand this mission. This is not just a job.  This is our Calling and our passion!  It is amazing to be a part of this ripple effect, and be a small part of making our world a better place! 

Trisha

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My Juice

Those of you who know me know that I wear some article of clothing which has "Hello Gorgeous!" on it almost every day.  My favorite is a red hoodie with a big white logo on the front of it. My husband tells me that people think that this is the only piece of clothing that I own!

I wear it because, well let's face it, it is comfortable and is certainly a conversation starter. 

Hello Gorgeous! Just hearing the words can make people smile. Many people will ask, "What is Hello Gorgeous?" and I then have the opportunity to tell them what we do. But, on many occasions, we will bump into a Gorgeous Woman who has been touched by our program, or a loved one who has been, and I get to hear their story.

The story of their makeover and what it meant to them, and their story of survival and inspiration - that is what is important to me.  That is my juice.  It is why I am up working at 5:30 am, six days a week, and finishing my paperwork and emails from bed at 10:00 at night.  Knowing the stories of these women, their experience, that is my favorite part of the job.  It gives me wings.

A few weeks back I was in an elevator at our local hospital and, of course, I was wearing my red Hello Gorgeous hoodie. There were three women on the elevator when I got on. I smiled at them and said, "Hello" and one of the women said to the younger girl, "Hey, there's your program!"  I asked if she had received a makeover and she lit up like a Christmas tree as she recounted her experience at our Salon Affiliate, FIX Salon Spa, in Elkhart, Indiana. I had remembered seeing her before-and-after pictures from the day and hearing her story from the salon owner, but to hear it from her was priceless.

These are the special moments. This is my juice.



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The One Word That Will Define 2014

A few years back Mike and I started a yearly exercise that we have now passed down to our Executive Team.  We choose one word that will exemplify our actions for the entire year.  Last year my word was Excellence.  Everything I did exuded excellence.  This year my word is Bold.  I want to live in a way I have never lived before.  I want to take chances and take larger steps in Faith than in years prior.  This year I want to make things happen that Glorify God’s favor.  I feel that if I step out, God can step in.  So I would like for challenge you.  Choose one word that will exemplify every action you take the rest of this year.  Post the word where you will see it daily.  I went so far as to have a bracelet made with the word on it so that it was with me where ever I went.  Try it and watch the transformation that will take place.  Share your word with me.  Let me know how God is working when you step out and you let Him step in.

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Find A Way

I am completely enamored with the sense of will that Diana Nyad has.  For those of you that don’t know she is the first women to swim from Cuba to the Florida Keys without a shark cage.  And she is 64 years old.  But that is not what I find amazing.  Diana tried this fete 3 times before and failed.  She then stopped swimming all together for 30 years. She still felt the desire to complete this tugging on her heart, so at 60 years of age she started training one last time to make this happen.  She tells reporters that when things got rough she just kept saying to herself, “Find a Way.” Every winter we put on an executive team retreat.  We choose a theme that carries our team through the year.  This year our theme is Find A Way.  Don’t give up, don’t give in, and don’t take the plan B.  Find a way to make your plan A work.  Don’t give up on the dream in your heart.  Find a Way to make it happen once and for all!

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