In 2012 a large group of staff, students, and family from American Beauty School walked through the Bronx in support of a cause that was very near our heart: The Breast Cancer Awareness Walk.
As one of the most inspiring experiences our school has participated in, the experience in 2012 has fueled us to conduct yearly fundraisers for research and to continue to support this heartbreaking, yet inspiring, cause. But that one walk through the Bronx is nothing compared to what we were able to do just a few months ago.
This past year we participated in a much broader way, and instead of walking, we sat down with hundreds of cancer survivors, painting their nails as they painted our hearts.
Surrounded by pink polish and a huge array of glitter, a few of our students painted and decorated thousands of nails as survivor after survivor crossed the finish line. Focusing on telling the story of each survivor, our students went crazy, creating hundreds of new designs that celebrated life while lifting each recipient up.
That was probably the best part of the experience.
Not only lifting them up, but being lifted up in return.
Listening to them as they told us their stories. Hearing about diagnoses, about chemo, about fighting. About that moment when some of them were sure they were going to die, but they dug deep and gave it their all. It was more than the survivors, it was those left behind too. It was the daughter who walks every year in memory of her mother. It was the husband, proudly displaying pink nails in honor of his late wife. It was hearing their stories of fighting alongside, it was crying with them as they mourned.
With every swash of pink polish, with every sprinkle of glitter, we listened and we still – even months later – sit in awe of what we heard, impacted by the strength of each and every one of them.
Our students come from every walk of life imaginable, with so many battles being fought behind the scenes as or students work to better their lives. And while we see the same strength and commitment in ourselves as we did in these amazing women, it is only a fraction of what they possess.
We are proud to have participated in this event, and hope to every year, not only so that we can lift up these amazing individuals, but so we can all fight this beast together.
One splash of pink glitter at a time.