My blogging career takes me to some amazing places. Some are decadent and glamorous. Some can be more glitter than gold. But some are just so special that it’s hard to put them into words. That was this trip that I’m about to tell you about. Lancôme Paris took me and a group of fellow beauty bloggers to Memphis, Tennessee, to visit the teens at the St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and have a makeup party, and then learn more about this amazing incredible resource for sick children.
And TODAY is Génifique Day, a national event to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. So if you purchase Lancôme’s incredible Génifique Youth Activating Concentrate, Génifique Eye Light-Pearl and select gift sets featuring both TODAY, Lancôme will donate $7 from the in-store or online sale of every bottle of select Génifique products to St. Jude.
Lancôme took me along with a bunch of beauty bloggers – including a few friends I love, like Jeannine of Beauty Sweet Spot and my boo Aly Walansky – to see why St. Jude’s is one of the world’s premier centers for the research and treatment of pediatric cancer and other deadly childhood diseases, and to see what Lancôme has been supporting for the past three years.
Come with me, to see the behind the scenes magic!
No family pays St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital for anything. Once they’ve met the criteria for admission – their child is under age 18, referred by a physician and their illness is one that’s being researched – St. Jude takes care of the rest, with the help of some powerful private enterprise support. So everywhere you look, there is supportive branding from companies like Kay Jewelers, Chili’s, Target, and Lancôme – all helping these kids to lead better, healthier lives, and doing their best to ease the stress and suffering on their families. Every year Lancôme is heavily involved in their prom, and does makeup for all the girls!
This is one of the amazing girls we got to meet and spend time with – (thank you Lancôme and St. Jude for providing these photos). Amazing makeup artist and total sweetheart Mickey Williams gave her a makeover and makeup lesson – just about every girl wanted to master the smoky eye!
We got to spend time with a few of the girls, meet their parents or relatives, and learn what it’s like to be a teen at St. Jude’s. As you might imagine, it isn’t easy. But there is so much support and LOVE at this place, it isn’t sad. I fully expected to need waterproof mascara and be totally heartbroken, but St. Jude’s is a place is HOPE. And LOVE. It was so beautiful, being there. Honored doesn’t even begin to say how I felt.
When you enter the hospital there is a giant statue of St. Jude. St. Jude was the patron saint of lost and desperate causes. In a time of desperation, the founder of St. Jude, Danny Thomas prayed to St. Jude for help to pay hospital bills. And that’s where this magical, healing place all began.
Danny Thomas died in 1991 and got to see most of what his vision was able to accomplish, but every day St. Jude grows bigger and better and more beautiful. Every year they accomplish more! While we were there they were working on constructing a huge new building. St. Jude is a hospital that does groundbreaking research on cancer, but they do so much more. They also are a leading sickle cell hospital – the first to discover a treatment for sickle cell, in fact. The H1N1 vaccine was discovered there. St. Jude produces their own medicines for specific kinds of cancer, they share their cures with the world via the Cure4Kids website.
Oh and the photo above is of me rubbing Danny Thomas’ nose – you’re supposed to rub it for luck!
Those are flags of the researchers and technicians who work at St. Jude’s to find a cure for these diseases. I was SO PROUD to see a Trini flag up there!
All over St. Jude there is art and color and reminders for the kids that they aren’t alone. Many of the images are of kids that have lost hair due to chemo, or kids in wheelchairs. It’s all about building a community where the kids know they aren’t the only ones enduring their illness. And here, there’s understanding.
And the kids are encouraged to use art as therapy. One of the things that lingered with me most was the ABC wall, where the kids have come up with poems for each letter, that relates to what they’re going through. It was sad, cute, sweet, and sad again. For every moment of sad reality of what the kids are dealing with, there is an uplifting reminder of hope and strength and solidarity.
Sitting and talking with the girls in the Teen Room gave me perspective on their lives. Cancer affects everything so completely, in ways I hadn’t even thought about or heard of. For example, I wound up talking about beauty products and coconut oil came up in conversation with one little girl’s grandma. And she told me that her granddaughter takes coconut oil capsules every day to keep her skin and hair moist internally, because her treatment causes her skin to be really, really dry and rough. So you know my inner coconut oil evangelist came out at that time.
Seeing how beauty uplifted the girls REALLY touched me and reminded me again of my purpose. Sometimes what I do can seem surface and superficial. But sitting and talking beauty and makeup, and seeing the transformation we made with Lancôme’s products…it was confirmation that beauty can truly make a difference.
Thank you Lancôme, and thank you St. Jude for an experience that was incredible beyond measure. Thank you for taking me with you!
Bellas, you can support this amazing place! Purchase Lancôme’s Génifique Youth Activating Concentrate, Génifique Eye Light-Pearl TODAY, and Lancôme will donate $7 from the in-store or online sale of every bottle of select Génifique products to St. Jude.