My partner, Collette is the visionary of the foundational idea behind Find Your Funk. I wanted to share this short story with you with an aim of helping others become more aware about the hardship of women living with cancer every day, but more importantly, the hope that exists.
"...I want to help others find their funk..." Collette, 2010
"Find their funk?", what is she on about now?
Looking back today, I had no idea the impact Collette's passing statement would have in our lives, as it echoed around the room. I didn't pay much attention, and returned to reading some trivial magazine with yet another impossible crossword, whilst Collette continued to casually chat about her new look with her friends. There was something heart warming about Collette, and these other amazing women who were also entwined by the endless lengths of chemotherapy tubes. I was truly inspired by all the laughing and smiles in such dire circumstances. I used to think I was tough, I had no idea.
Toowoomba Base Hospital in Queensland had become her second home, it was a strange sensation walking along the miles of halls, hearing shouts of "see you again soon Collette!" from nurses and patients as we left for the car. Collette always made new friends easily in a room filled with hardship, strong bonds with friends who remain today.
In early 2010, Collette was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer, she had not yet reached her 27th birthday, and over the persuing period of two years, endured the sudden resignation of employment, rounds of surgical operations, chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments, as also too many have done before her. Somewhere amongst the never ending doctor appointments, blood tests, scans, and illness, Collette's world finally collapsed with the appearance side effects of her cancer treatment.
Being extremely unwell and unable to work, we were financially struggling, after groceries, bills and rent, there was barely enough for the odd discount nail polish or lipstick, to help take away the hurt in the mirror. She soon began suffering from serious skin reactions and it was recommended that she avoid products that may interfere with her treatments. As her vulnerability increased through intense chemotherapy, her small cosmetic collection was eventually taken away from her, leaving her devastated.
As a result, Collette became very distant from her friends and family when her physical appearance, such as her sudden hair loss and extreme skin sensitivities, made her feel completely disconnected from life. She no longer ventured outside her bedroom, what she referred to as her prison. I remember clearly when she turned to me, and yelled "...I look like an alien....". It broke my heart to see her constantly in tears, I realised her heart had been broken well before that day.
Some time had passed, and one day she was given the gift of a wig and some organic and mineral cosmetics to try. She discovered that she was achieving results she had not yet experienced in her time, and to our surprise, without the reactions we were expecting. I recall seeing her for the first time, complete with makeover using her wig and her organic cosmetics, and it's hard to explain, I would not have recognised her in a crowd. Her first words were "Finally! I feel normal again". She was simply happy with feeling normal, but she looked amazing.
I saw Collette returning to herself instantly as she stood there, glowing and with a smile I had not seen for a very long time. She said to me "I want others to feel this freedom, I want to help them find their funk". She had used her illness and discovery of natural and organic cosmetics as an excuse to use cosmetic techniques that she would never had considered doing before. She loved the results, and she loved her new look.
Collette became very passionate and focussed about the idea of helping other women 'find their funk', especially through illness, to feel better about their appearance, thus feeling better about themselves, so that they could more easily concentrate on getting better. I offered to help her start a small natural and organic cosmetic outlet and work closely with her to convert her passion into a reality, she couldn't wait.
Collette has completed her initial treatments for breast cancer, but has a ways to go before we get the all clear. So in the mean time, Collette and I got ourselves very busy establishing this one stop shop for natural, organic and mineral cosmetics, from suppliers all around Australia, for everyone's convenience. Collette has not yet finished her dream for Find Your Funk, there is still alot of work to be done here and within the community. We often have discussions about what she wants to see Find Your Funk achieve, and she has certainly been keeping me occupied.
She is very proud of all the ground work we have completed, so that our valued customers don't have to hunt around, using up their valuable time, for those hard to find cosmetics. We will continue to proactively seek more organic cosmetic suppliers as we grow overtime. We are very excited to share Find Your Funk with you.
In closing, I wanted to mention that without you, our wonderful customer, and fantastic suppliers, Find Your Funk wouldn't be here. A very special thank you to the cancer care health services in Toowoomba, because of your selfless support, today Collette is able to continue her volunteer work with a non-for profit cancer care group in Queensland.
Adam | Director
Find Your Funk, Australia