The inspiration for Make Me Up Foundation, Ashley Quinn's nonprofit organization, came from helping a family friend feel beautiful during the course of her treatment for cancer.
Quinn, who holds a cosmetology license from the Douglas J Aveda Institute in Grand Rapids, offered her services to a family friend, Liz, who had been diagnosed with breast cancer, undergone a double mastectomy and other treatments, and experienced reoccurrences in her lungs and brain. "I just decided to offer her a little makeover. Her reaction was powerful. And for me—to have that effect—it was overwhelming in a great way."
The scarring, the wounds—it's traumatic to self-image, Quinn notes. "It's very emotional. And pampering—it costs money that cancer patients don't always have, especially not to spend on themselves to look nice." Cancer runs in Quinn's family, and she saw an opportunity to help those undergoing treatment feel pampered and renew their sense of self. "I love helping people, and cancer touches close to home for me." She decided to set up an organization dedicated to making women being treated for cancer feel beautiful, and to restoring their dignity by offering haircuts, color, and makeup services free of charge.
Taking this from idea to reality required organization and tenacity. Working with a business mentor, Quinn set about establishing nonprofit status for Make Me Up Foundation. "I surrounded myself with positive people, who could set the right environment and provide constructive criticism." She established a board of directors, made up of people who could provide a range of areas of expertise and who possessed a positive spirit.
Make Me Up Foundation went from an idea to an official 501(c)3 nonprofit organization much more quickly than Quinn had dared to hope. Today, the foundation offers a variety of services to women who are being treated for cancer. Services begin with an in-home consultation to discuss which services the client would like and are followed by a visit to perform the services, which may be repeated as often as every eight weeks. Services offered include blowout finish, haircut/blowout finish, full-head color, color retouch, highlights, lowlights, and makeup application. Clients may receive up to three services in one session. Quinn said women do not have to be low-income to qualify for services. "We want to come to your home—we want to pamper you. Don't be afraid to reach out. I get the pride thing, but there comes a time when everyone needs help. Don't be afraid to ask, 'Can you come pamper me?'"
To learn more about services offered by Make Me Up Foundation, or to make a donation, visit www.makemeupfoundation.org.
Photos courtesy of Erin Hernandez.