Over two years ago, I met Nalie Agustin during her first bout with breast cancer. She was one of the first beneficiaries of our Beauty with a Purpose™ giving mission and one of the first people to ever try Thrive’s false lashes. My connection with Nalie was magnetic, and she’s been a friend of Thrive Causemetics ever since.
In early January, Nalie received word that her cancer had returned and spread to her lungs. Without a second thought, I flew from Seattle to be with her in her hometown of Montreal. Miraculously, she had the energy to give me an express tour of the city, even though she had recently completed her first round of chemotherapy.
Nalie is the embodiment of all things Thrive Causemetics and namesake of our iconic Infinity Waterproof Eyeliner shade, Nalie (Chocolate Brown Shimmer). This eyeliner cannot encapsulate all that she is, but whenever I see it I think of her: strong, driven and one of the most inspiring people I’ve ever met.
Thank YOU for making special connections like this possible. We are so grateful that you’ve chosen to join us in empowering women, like our dear friend Nalie, through our Beauty with a Purpose™ giving mission. We couldn’t do it without you!
Through our partnership with Seattle Children’s Hospital, we had the opportunity to meet three amazing mother-daughter duos: Emily + Helen, Carrie + Annalise and Michella + Alyssa. We invited them to attend our recent Giving Event at Swink Style Bar in Seattle, where we provided complimentary makeovers to women of all ages from the Pacific Northwest going through cancer treatment. All three Thrivers (and their mothers) became fast friends during their visit. Afterward, we sat down to speak with each of them. Read below to learn more about this inspiring trio.
Who inspires you to Thrive?
Alyssa (daughter) + Michella (mom)
“My first “cancer friend,” Carmen, inspires me to Thrive,” said Alyssa. “I met Carmen after my first chemo session. She was about six months ahead of me in her treatment. Meeting someone my age who had already been through it made me believe that I could get through it too,” Alyssa continued. Alyssa’s mom Michella agreed. “Carmen gave Alyssa all kinds of advice during their stay at the hospital. She acted as a sort of mentor to her, and I’m so glad they found each other.”
Helen (daughter) + Emily (mom)
“I think my mom is my biggest inspiration to thrive,” Helen said. “While I was in the hospital, my mom came to visit me every day and still managed to take care of the rest of the family. She’s able to do everything— she’s like a supermom.” Emily, in turn, chose Helen as her inspiration, saying she is “constantly amazed by Helen’s incredible strength. “Helen is tougher than she looks. She never lost her sense of humor and always had a smile on her face.”
How has having cancer changed your perspective on life?
Annalise (daughter) + Carrie (mom)
“YOLO!” Annalise quickly responded. “I learned to take advantage of what I have while I have it and not to sweat the small stuff.” “You never know what’s going to happen, but when something like this does happen, you have to be strong.You just have to do what you have to do, even if that means dropping everything,” Carrie elaborated. Annalise went on to say that going through cancer treatment has made her stronger and more confident. “I even rocked the bald look in Europe last summer!” she exclaimed.
What advice do you have for fellow Thrivers going through treatment right now?
Helen (daughter) + Emily (mom)
“Most importantly, you have to believe in yourself and believe that you can get through it,” Helen says. “Focus on the present and take things as they come. Don’t stress about the future!” she advises. Emily encourages patients to take advantage of feeling good when they do, and to try to go out and do fun things. “Throughout this experience, I have learned that life is simply too short. In the end, time and money don’t really matter. Having fun while you can is what’s most important.” Alyssa’s mom, Michella, adds that “it’s really hard, but you’ll get through it. Keep a positive attitude because that's what makes the difference and makes it possible to stay strong.”
During our interviews with this group of amazing moms and daughters, we observed a common piece of advice: to try to keep a smile on your face and stay positive during treatment, proving that joy truly is the best makeup. We couldn’t agree more.
The world of luxury cosmetics is comprised of chic, black packaging and for good reason. Neutral shades like black or white create the perfect canvas to highlight the gorgeous color cosmetics shades we in the beauty world work so hard to develop.
Then why, you ask, did we choose turquoise, or as we affectionately call it, #ThriveTurquoise as our brand color? The reason is beyond the obvious fact that it is a timeless and sophisticated color that plays nice with other shades like reds and pinks (it doesn’t clash with any other color!).
The color turquoise evokes feelings of serene energy, inspiration, purpose, joy and creativity. Our mission is to empower and inspire all women to thrive while helping others in need. We hope when you see turquoise, you remember how special and unique you are and that you are reminded to thrive every day!
Tell us in the comments below, what color inspires you to thrive?
Thank you to everyone who came out and celebrated National Cancer Thrivers (Survivors) Day with us and Good Morning America in Central Park!
Florence + The Machine performed their empowering hits “Dog Days Are Over” and “Shake It Off”; both are perfect anthems for anyone overcoming an obstacle in their life.
Check out that sea of Thrivers!
All attendees had the opportunity to choose a turquoise sign that represented what inspires them to thrive.
Since Robin Roberts not only inspired the name of our Robin Lashes, but the name of our brand it was truly an honor to spend our first annual Thrivers (Survivors) Day with the Good Morning America team.
Good Morning America allowed us to reach and help millions of people; thank YOU to our community of supporters who help us bring joy to women going through cancer treatment around the world.
For those of you who didn’t catch our segment with Good Morning America, here it is!
This heartwarming picture of two little girls, Maliyah and Madelina comforting each other at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh speaks volumes about love, friend and lifelong bond that can be developed at any age.
The photo was taken by Maliyah’s mother, Tazz Jones and shows the moment the two girls met for the first time.
Both girls are going through treatment for cancer. Maliyah has been fighting stage IV neuroblastoma since 2012, which caused a cancerous tumor to grow in her abdomen and spread to her bone marrow. Madelina, 2 years old was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in 2014.
The two girls immediately became best friends upon meeting. “She and Maliyah instantly clicked as if they knew one another for some time. They played together for a while before taking a break to sit and look out the window, quietly embracing,” Jones told ABC News.
“Through sickness and health there will always be someone by your side whether you know them or not. My heart filled with joy and hope, and I knew that I cannot just be the only person to see this. This is the perfect example of love.” - Jones wrote.
We are Beauty with a Purpose; for every product purchased, one is donated to a woman going through cancer treatment.
A big thank you to Good Morning America for helping us kick off our first annual Thrivers Day celebration in Central Park with Florence + The Machine!
You can celebrate Thriver's Day too! Simply share this image with your followers on Facebook or Instagram and hashtag #ThriveCausemetics #BeautyWithAPurpose. You'll be automatically entered to win a free set of our new Infinity Waterproof Eyeliners!
Meet Gailon Wixson Pursley, a senior at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA who has big plans after she graduates. And let me tell you, this girl will accomplish anything she puts her mind to.
After being diagnosed with a serious sarcoma in June of last year, she was uprooted from her fun, care-free campus-life to immediately begin aggressive treatment at Seattle Children’s Hospital.
From the moment she began treatment, she had one goal in mind: to make it back home to Tacoma, WA by Christmas.
I had the pleasure of meeting Gailon after our first news story broke on KOMO News, our local ABC affiliate. Her mother Yvette wrote to us about Gailon and the loss of her lashes due to chemo. We immediately sent a care package to Gailon containing Kristy lashes and Infinity Lash Adhesive.
She was ecstatic! She sent us pictures and emails about how beautiful she felt and how she felt more like herself again. I went to visit Gailon while she was finishing treatment in December and she had that same goal in mind: to be home by Christmas... and she was! Gailon is now a regular at our Giving Events and inspires other Thrivers in our community. She is the perfect example of what it means to thrive; her determination and tenacity to beat cancer no doubt had a huge impact on her recovery.
Who inspires you to thrive?
The people who inspire me the most to thrive are my mom, Yvette Wixson, and my friend Laura Berardinelli. My mom helped me every step of the way during treatment and supported me throughout all of the difficult times. Since she is a breast cancer survivor, she was a huge source of inspiration during my treatment and helped me to stay strong throughout the chemo, hair loss and sickness.
Laura is also a fellow cancer survivor. She was diagnosed at the age of 19 with Hodgkins Lymphoma and was told just yesterday that she is now two years cancer-free. She has been an amazing inspiration to me and it has been so therapeutic to connect with another survivor who is my age.
On a recent visit that she made to Washington, we spent countless hours comparing chemo stories and laughing at the awkward moments we both experienced. During treatment, I was able to talk to her about anything, from ways to gain weight and how to cope with hair to the ridiculous things people said to us after our diagnosis. Meeting her has made this whole crazy journey worth it.
How has beating cancer changed your perspective on life?
Surviving cancer has given me a greater appreciation for life and made me feel like I can survive most anything that life throws my way. Since I am nearing the one year anniversary of being diagnosed with sarcoma, I have been reflecting back on what my life was like before cancer like a lot more. I am much less afraid of taking risks now. My off days seem less bad now because no matter what I am dealing with, I know that it could be worse.
What are some of your favorite beauty products?
My favorite beauty product has be my Kristy eyelashes. They helped me feel like a normal person when I was going through treatment. No one could tell that they were fake, which was so great! I am also a huge fan of Bare Minerals Candle Lit Peach 5-in-1 BB Advanced Performance Cream Eyeshadow. And I am super excited for Thrive's new eyeliner!!
What is your mission?
I want to remove the mystery around cancer. When I was going through treatment, a lot of my friends had questions about my diagnosis and what I was going through and they weren't sure how to ask me about all of it. I would love for people to feel comfortable discussing this illness and the impact it has on peoples’ lives. Laura and I were also talking about how we love to make jokes about our situation and how people never really know if they can laugh at those jokes. So, I want more people to feel comfortable laughing at this situation. When I was able to find humor in my treatment, I was able to find the power to overcome my diagnosis.
What is your favorite quote?
“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don't just give up.” —Stephen Hawking
What advice do you have for fellow Thrivers going through treatment right now?
My advice for people going through treatment is something that was actually told to me by my friend Laura: If you are having trouble keeping your weight up during treatment and nothing tastes or smells good, eat some popsicles. It is such simple advice, but it helped keep me off of a feeding tube during treatment.
Another good piece of advice for people getting mouth sores during chemo is to suck on some ice when the chemo drug is being administered. The ice slows down the blood flow to your mouth, thus reducing mouth sores!
Meet Jessica, a mother of two young children and entrepreneur who was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma at 24. Cancer is a scary and challenging experience for anyone, let alone a mother, but Jessica's story of not just surviving but thriving has inspired millions around the world. Jessica was always proud of her long, luscious lashes and found that losing them robbed her of her "signature beauty." When she first applied our Jackie lashes however, she felt "the most beautiful and confident she had ever felt—even without hair." Jessica is the reason why we at Thrive are determined to positively impact the lives of woman going through cancer treatment. With our donation, Jessica not only regained her confidence, she wore them for the first time ever in front of millions of people on ABC’s The View.
If someone walked a mile in your shoes, what would their journey look like? If someone had to walk a mile in my shoes, it would be an exhausting but extremely rewarding mile. Their short glimpse into my life would be filled with an immense amount of blessings and love alongside a few difficult, trying times.
Who inspires you to thrive? My fiancée, Brett. He has been my rock through the hardest times in my life. We started dating four months before he left for the Marine Corps, and we managed to continue and grow even while long distance. His genuine support and unconditional love has helped me realize my true potential and that I can achieve anything I put my mind to. He pushes me to thrive in every aspect of my life.
How has getting diagnosed with cancer changed your perspective in life? It has changed my perspective by showing me to slow down, and enjoy every second. Eight months ago I was a business owner, fiancé, new home owner, and a mother of two beautiful, feisty babies under the age of two. I was chronically stressed and my days were often filled with worries and what ifs. Cancer forced me to take time for myself and realize the best way to take care of my babies and my business was to take the best care of myself as possible. I had to take four months of chemo to really focus on me and my health, so I can be the best possible mother to my children.
When you look at yourself in the mirror, who do you see? I see a woman I never expected, in the best way possible. Growing up, I was never the most confident or driven student. I have achieved above and beyond what I ever would have expected at 24. If you would have told me at 15 what I would end up achieving in the next 10 years, I never would have believed you. Today I see a mother who is confident, strong, and most importantly, happy.
What are some simple mantras you live by to stay positive? Every day in every way I am better and better, higher and higher. You can either continue to live, or you can lose yourself in your illness. "Our existence is not a story of suffering. It’s a journey of growing life out of the soil we are given to stand in."
What's the best gift you ever received from your kids? The best gift my children have given me is a lesson in unconditional love. There is no love in the world like the immediate and immense love you have for your children. They kept me sane in the most insane way possible through my cancer journey. Days when I didn’t want to get out of bed, I would hear their little footsteps and knocking on the bedroom door for mommy to come play, and they gave me that strength to continue with my life and not succumb to my illness.
What’s the best advice your mom gave you? That beauty is far more than skin deep and who you are inside is much more important than physical beauty. Be independent, strong, and know your worth. Stand up for yourself when needed, but stay humble.
What are three tidbits of advice you'd give to a new mom?
You’ll never be perfect, and that’s okay. Do not beat yourself up over giving your child the occasional lollipop; if it’ll provide you with a few minutes of sanity, it’s worth it.
Take time for yourself. The healthier and happy you are in your personal life; the happier you’ll be for your children. Don’t let yourself resent motherhood, avoid this by taking time for yourself and with your partner.
You won’t always like being a mom...and that’s okay too! Some days your kids WILL drive you insane and you WILL ask yourself...what the heck is going on with my life? But the second your baby looks at you, or calls you mommy, you immediately know it’s all worth it.
Anything else you’d like us to know? Wake up every day thankful. I truly believe life is all about perspective. If you continue to remain optimistic and positive, that’s what you will ultimately obtain. To me, this is the key to happiness.
“It’s up to you to find beauty in the ugliest days.” – quote from Kristy’s blog: wake up and live
In her short time on earth, Kristy did more than many of us do in a lifetime. She had a passion for helping young children and this was evident through her work.
During the last two years of her life, Kristy took her mission global. She travelled to the Dominican Republic, Tanzania and Chile to volunteer and work with children. Each time she returned from a journey her heart overflowed with love for the children she met. Her unconditional love, genuine care, and infectious smile left an imprint on all she met during her travels. She wanted to make a difference in their lives, and through this she learned that giving herself to others filled her heart and gave her a sense of purpose for her life.
She chronicled her travels through her blog: wake up and live. When her travels were cut short due to her cancer diagnosis, Kristy decided to share her story with the world. Her blog perfectly captures Kristy’s spirit and continues to inspire people around the world.
Thank you Kristy for inspiring me to embark on this journey and positively impact the lives of women going through treatment for cancer. When you left us, I knew we had to make something beautiful to honor your life; I hope this allows more to experience the joy that you provided to everyone around you.
Kristy is thrive causemetics. Her spirit is alive in everything that we do.
HELP FIND THE CURE IN OUR TIME. Sarcoma Foundation of America provides support to patients and advocates for increased research to find innovative therapies with which to treat patients with sarcoma.
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