By Emily Glory Peters
A woman’s cancer diagnosis is an earth-shattering moment—not only for the patient, but for those who love her. From mingled emotions, a rising sense of helplessness is not uncommon—something Amie Satchu, Pasadena native and founder of Foundation for Living Beauty, sought to change.
“When Amie’s mom was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, she watched as her mom went through the physical effects of treatment. She started looking for support services and found there wasn’t really anything available,” says Nancy Davison, executive director at Living Beauty. “Amie started the foundation in 2005 as a feel-good organization creating beautification days for her mom and women like her.”
Yet Davidson, who has three decades of experience supporting nonprofits, notes that the mission of Living Beauty rapidly changed.
“Amie quickly saw there was room to helping women with wellness opportunities for every point along their cancer journey,” she says. “Today, we’re more about building internal fortitude and focus less on external beauty.”
Apart from Living Beauty’s annual beautification day, those opportunities include classes and seminars on mindfulness, nutrition, skincare and more—all practices which require shifts when going through treatments like chemotherapy. But amongst these services (all of which are offered for free to the foundation’s “Living Beauties”), one stands out.
“Our signature events are our overnight retreats,” says Davidson. “We stay at the Sarah Retreat Center in Malibu and cover everything for our attendees—meals, lodging—and treat them to a few days filled with yoga, meditation, and different healing modalities.”
While Living Beauty’s ultimate goal is to open their own retreat center, today they host multiple events a year for women of all ages at any stage in their cancer journey: before, during and after treatment. That mix proves critical to the success of the retreats.
“We were at a serenity yoga retreat and had a really interesting collection of women. At one point, they organically formed a circle where the post-treatment women surrounded the in-treatment women and did a laying on of hands. It was beautiful,” recalls Davidson. “That sisterhood is what these events are about—women who are in treatment are looking to the post-treatment women for hope, and those post-treatment women are looking to pay it forward.”
The nonprofit’s Cassandra Fund, Smile Project and Holiday Angels programs also address the more pernicious outcomes for Living Beauties in more vulnerable situations.
“Cancer doesn’t discriminate according to income or ethnicity. It can bankrupt people financially, emotionally and spiritually, and many women find their relationships break because their partner or families can’t handle the changes,” acknowledges Davidson.
“Our Cassandra Fund helps cover the costs of things like rent, prescriptions, food; the Holiday Angels programs fulfils holiday wishes each season; and the Smile Project will take a room in a Living Beauty’s house and give it a complete makeover—just to create a place to make them smile, an opportunity to feel about being at home.”
Of course, offering these services for free means fundraising. On September 27, 2019 at the Westin Pasadena, Living Beauty will team up with post-surgery loungewear and lingerie brand Everviolet to host a fashion show (with tickets on sale soon). Not only are all the vendors women-owned/operated, all the models are Living Beauties themselves. To Davidson, that’s empowerment at its best.
“Beauty is both internal and external. We serve women who are bald, scarred—but the common denominator is that they’re joyful,” she says. “Authentic beauty is caused by wellness, caused by hope, caused by positive relationships that these women have. Our mission is to uplift, educate and empower this sisterhood and help them meet others on the same path—and that’s what we do.”
Foundation for Living Beauty is located at 234 N. El Molino Avenue, Suite 202 in Pasadena. To become a Living Beauty or participate in one of their programs, contact the Living Beauty team at www.livingbeauty.org | firstname.lastname@example.org | 888.501.0777 and follow Foundation for Living Beauty on Facebook @foundationforlivingbeauty and Instagram @livingbeautyorg.