In 1997, I decided to get involved in the fight against cancer. I had been in the beauty industry for more than 20 years, and I realized what inspired me most was how our industry had spearheaded the breast-cancer movement, raising awareness about the importance of early detection, as well as millions of dollars for research to help erase the "death sentence" of a breast-cancer diagnosis. I decided I wanted to work for a company that was involved in that, too, so I only had one choice -- L'Oreal USA joined forces with the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund (OCRF) and embarked on a special mission to eradicate ovarian cancer. Since then, L'Oreal USA has become a top fundraiser for the OCRF searching for a cure for ovarian cancer, one of the toughest cancers to diagnose and treat.
I quickly discovered that while rewarding, it was not enough just to raise money -- I needed to be hands on. I wanted to understand what research we were funding and what progress we were making on the survival rate. I also found myself wanting to spend time with survivors, and helping them feel better in whatever way I could. Thus my pledge to fight ovarian cancer evolved into other commitments -- like supporting the Look Good Feel Better campaign, which targets the personal fight of those diagnosed with cancer. It is amazing what beauty tutorials and a little make-up can do for these brave individuals' self-esteem. Moreover, seeing the direct impact beauty products can have on reversing the tolls of chemotherapy is one of the most validating parts of being in the industry.
Even deeper inspiration can be found in the courageous cancer survivors that are a part of my day-to-day life at L'Oreal. Our very own Tim Quinn, Celebrity Makeup Artist for Giorgio Armani Beauty, has fought his own battle with cancer and was treated at the Mass General Cancer Center. He was honored at the one hundred in 2011 for his philanthropic efforts in the fight against cancer. He shares personal anecdotes -- from decorating his hospital room to putting lipstick on his nurses -- with others to make the fight seem a little more manageable. Tim is one of the most magnetic, thoughtful and generous people I know and his personal commitment to "make cancer pretty" has inspired me to grow my support. Thus it is a natural extension to join forces with Mass General's the one hundred.
Being honored at this year's the one hundred is in support of every brave individual who has fought cancer, and especially Tim -- to celebrate his personal fight against cancer and his valiant efforts to help boost other fighters' morale. In addition to making top stars like Glenn Close and Kerry Washington look gorgeous on the red carpet, he finds time to make sure everyone feels beautiful. Today I am going to see Tim in action at the Mass General Nurses' Appreciation Day event, where he and his team will be giving the incomparably hardworking and dedicated nurses of the Mass General Cancer Center well-deserved makeovers and beauty advice.
While Tim and I use our passion for beauty to support the fight against cancer, I hope this hits a broader note and inspires others to use their interests toward philanthropic goals. It only takes a little lipstick to boost the self-confidence of a woman going through chemotherapy, and in the same fashion, it doesn't have to take an entire corporation to make an impact. I encourage you to run with what drives you and use it for the greater good.
This blog post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post and the one hundred, in conjunction with the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center. Each year, the one hundred honors 100 Everyday Amazing individuals and groups -- caregivers, researchers, philanthropists, advocates and volunteers from around the globe -- who are celebrating hope and inspiring action in the cancer community. To see all other posts in the series, read here. For more information about the one hundred, read here. Do you know someone who's making a difference in the fight against cancer? Read here to nominate them for the one hundred.