Cancer is an ugly word, but much beauty can come from it, as shown by the Diamond Ball taking place Feb. 28 at The Mackey House.
The evening celebrates survivorship by providing makeovers to female cancer survivors before they share the spotlight as belles of the Diamond Ball for a night.
We chatted with Diamond Ball founder Jennifer Hagan about bringing back this event for a second year and what it means to those involved.
How did the idea for the Diamond Ball start?
Hagan: The idea to do the Diamond Ball came after doing some makeovers on local female cancer survivors in 2012.
Several of the women commented that they felt so glamorous after their makeovers that they wished they had a ball to attend. I decided right then that we needed to put together a ball. I formed a committee of volunteers and we put on an amazing first Diamond Ball last year.
Why did the team decide to bring it back for year two (and beyond?)
Hagan: With all of the volunteers having full-time jobs, it was a lot of work putting on the ball last year, and so we were unsure if we were going to do it again.
After being approached numerous times by survivors telling me that it was one of the best nights of their lives and they couldn't wait to go again this year, I couldn't say no.
Unfortunately, we had a couple of our celebrated survivors from last year lose the battle of cancer, and we wanted a way to honor them. In addition, Savannah has gained new survivors who heard about the ball and wanted to experience it.
These women deserve a day of pampering and a night to feel like a princess, and it's 100 percent worth the time and effort to witness this magic.
Which salons are involved?
Hagan: Simplicity Salon in Rincon, Milan Salon and Salon 17 in Richmond Hill, 40 Volume Salon and W Salon in Savannah and Salon Karma in Bluffton, S.C.
Why do you feel this is an important event to host?
Hagan: With all the struggles that come along with having cancer, or caring for someone with cancer, there needs to be a time to truly celebrate overcoming obstacles and having the strength to fight the fight. This event emulates that celebration.
In addition, this event is a fundraiser for the Women Survivors Alliance to offer cancer patient makeovers locally and nationally. These makeover events boost confidence and offer support to women dealing with the physical changes from cancer treatments.
What can people who want to attend expect?
Hagan: Expect a magical night of amazing food, drinks, dancing and silent auction.
Expect emotions to be stirred as you witness these ladies celebrating survivorship.
Expect to meet new people who support a great cause.
What do you hope attendees leave with?
Hagan: Last year, one of my favorite memories was formed. Watching 32 survivors all made up in formal dresses holding hands and dancing and smiling and laughing left me with a renewed feeling of strength to get through my own struggles. Knowing what these women and their families have been through and watching them celebrate that they get another day to really live, makes us grateful for all the blessings we have.
Why do you want to give a trip to the National Women's Survivors Convention?
Hagan: I attended the National Women Survivor's Convention last year and it was an amazing experience.
Over 2,000 female cancer survivors from around the world gathering together to learn more about their cancer and how to cope with it, while receiving support from volunteers and the other survivors. The women also receive makeovers while they are there, have opportunities to meet and hear from inspiring celebrities, participate in a Survivor 5K, attend concerts, walk the Pajama Party Runway and much more!
Every survivor should be able to experience this event.
How can people who can't attend still help?
Hagan: We are still in need of monetary sponsorships, along with silent auction items. We are looking for corporate sponsors that will receive advertising for their donations, and we are also looking for businesses or individuals to sponsor survivor tickets at $40 each.
Women Survivors Alliance is a 501c3 and all donations are 100 percent tax deductible. We also need help promoting the event so that we can reach as many people as possible. Tell your friends and coworkers!