Women battling cancer treated to day of 'Makeup and Mimosas'

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Some women who are battling cancer were treated to a day of beauty today in University City. (WPVI)

Lucreatia Alston, a 26-year-old mother of two, has been looking forward to Sunday's makeup lesson for a while.

"Just learning how to do makeup, because I don't know how," said Alston of West Philadelphia.

She was the model for the Makeup & Mimosas event in University City, and she's also battling breast cancer and undergoing chemotherapy.

"It helps you because it helps you feel beautiful," said Alston. "Like, I don't have no hair right now. So, I don't have no eyelashes."

The event raises money for Penn's Abramson Cancer Center.

The makeup artist and organizer behind it lost her mother exactly one year ago to lung cancer six days after being diagnosed.

"Six days, rapid deterioration and unfortunately, she was gone before we even got a chance to say goodbye," said organizer Tammi Toliver, Fashion Facez Artistry.
Not long after Tammi lost her mother, she was contacted by a client who was battling cancer who wanted her makeup done. She said she was shocked at what a big different just a little bit of makeup made.

"At a time when they feel like their beauty is being stolen, we can give that back to them. Let them know that the chemo, the radiation doesn't steal their beauty," said Toliver. "It doesn't steal their joy."

Dozens of women enjoyed brunch - yes, with mimosas - a table of pink sweets, massages and then a makeup lesson, touching on issues like dry skin and dark spots - common issues during chemo and radiation.

"You lose your hair and that's a big thing, and you just want something to look different - or the same - and makeup does that for you," said 18-year breast cancer survivor Sonya Lewis from Northeast Philadelphia.

Toliver said moving forward, she plans to partner with the Abramson Cancer Center and the American Cancer Society to provide regular beauty respite days for cancer patients in memory of her mom.

"I couldn't do it for her," she said. "But we can help somebody else find their beauty and find their strength, and continue to fight until there's a cure."

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