Stories of Strength
October is more than just an occasion to don a pink ribbon—for us, this cause is personal. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, two Ouidad team members whose loved ones have beat the disease share their stories.
Sondriel, Stylist at Ouidad Ft. Lauderdale, and mom, Ouidad, who was diagnosed in 2002
“When my mom told me she was diagnosed, I was in sixth grade. The first thing I thought was, my mom’s going to die. I was already planning a life without her, because I knew my grandmother passed away from breast cancer. I was pretty much heartbroken and crushed, and I was at school crying in the bathroom every day of every week. I lived in my guidance counselor’s office.
“I remember going to see her after surgery and seeing how drained and tired she was. I remember her telling me, ‘Honey, you can’t hug me too hard yet,’ and it was weird for me to hear that from my mom.
“The hardest part was not fully understanding what was happening. For me, it felt like she was in the hospital for months and months and months. When she came home, when I was able to see her and physically touch her, it was a little bit easier for me. It was like, I think my mom’s going to be okay.
“The whole experience definitely made me more appreciative of her because I was so afraid to lose her. It was hard for me to imagine her not there, so after we went through that, I kind of viewed her not only as my mom but as a survivor, a warrior.
“The month of October always hits really close to home for me. It reminds me that no matter what you’re going through, you can always be strong and overcome any challenge. It’s really empowering to watch someone who ran a business and who was always taking care of other people get hit with something like that and stay so strong.”
Melissa, Ouidad Customer Acquisition Manager, and mom, Allison, who completed a mastectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation in July 2017
“We found out at the beginning of October last year that she had breast cancer – they found a tumor during a routine mammogram.
“Her chemotherapy was once a week for six months. Chemotherapy is an IV drip, and depending on what they give you, it can take an hour to two hours, maybe three. That was a pretty firm commitment – one that she couldn’t get out of, and she needed assistance, so I went with her every week.
“Watching her get sick – that was hard. Losing her hair was very traumatizing to her as it started to fall out. It got really thin, and there was the day that came when we had to just shave it so that it would all be even, and that was very emotional for her.
“When I would go to chemotherapy with my mom every week, I would see a lot of the same people there. I noticed a lot of people were alone. My mom always had me, or my dad – she always had people with her. If someone that you care about is sick, do your best to not give up, because even though it’s hard, you have someone relying on you.”
Ouidad fundraises year-round through Curls for a Cure, benefitting the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Learn more about how you can help here.