Pamper - the word elicits images of manicured nails, shopping sprees, glasses of wine, and laissez faire ‘treat yourself’ moments. An almost contradictory word, purpose, evokes a much different image - one of drive and intention. When reading the slogan ‘Pampering with Purpose’ on the Simply From The Heart website, this unfamiliar concept - the pairing of these two seemingly opposite words - is intriguing. After perusing the website, laden with an array of smiling faces and pale pink accents, it becomes clear how these two words do, in fact, compliment each other.
Simply From The Heart treats hospital patients, not through medical help, but by pampering them with a “Glam Box” of over 25 beauty supplies, bedside makeovers, and positive energy. Beauty-savvy volunteers, i.e. the “Glam Squad,” visit those in need of a psychological boost, painting nails, doing makeup, styling hair, massaging hands, conversing, and singing or playing music for them. The Glam Squad provides a loving touch amid the discomfort of hospital regularities; as one chemotherapy patient gleamed, the Glam Squad “fix[ed] me in a way that doctors can’t.”
Simply From The Heart’s (SFTH) generosity began with founder Jackelyn Gauci Kastanis’ desire to honor her friend, Brooke Bolley, who passed away from cancer at the young age of 27. As she cared for Brooke in the hospital, she recognized how, even when battling a terminal case of cancer, she lit up with a little lipstick and a lot of love. Since it was founded five years ago in Chicago, Simply From The Heart has served over 5,000 patients with 250 volunteers, expanding to Michigan, Florida, California, New York, Connecticut, and counting. As a non-profit, the organization operates on hours of volunteered time, product donations from beauty supply companies, and an abundance of care and positivity.
Through inpatient and outpatient programs, SFTH serves an array of women with various illnesses and illness severities. Inpatient programs include bedside pampering in individual hospital rooms and small social gatherings for multiple patients, while the outpatient program occurs once a month and is designed to lift the spirits of 25-100 patients at a time. Per SFTH’s goals, each program relies on direct contact and compassion to lift morale and bring smiles to more and more patients through an ever-changing and improving organization.
Founder Jackelyn Gauci Kastanis encourages young women to follow their instincts and believe in their abilities in order to succeed in creating impactful careers. Her hard work and determination has paid off, allowing her to experience firsthand the positive changes that occur in each individual patient when they’re visited by the Glam Squad. Kastanis has seen how SFTH’s makeovers and pampering services improve patients’ confidence in their outward appearance while drastically changing their outlook on their disease, empowering them to take control of their recovery process “and feel like the beautiful warriors they are.”
If you want to be a part of this healing process for women warriors, follow in Jackelyn’s footsteps and trust your gut. The Glam Squad is always looking for beauty professionals (i.e. licensed estheticians, nail technicians, hair stylists and cosmetologists), but also includes interested volunteers, from “all walks of life.”
SFTH is always accepting enthusiastic new recruits for the Glam Squad who are passionate about extending SFTH’s mission to “enrich the lives of patients” through “care, community and comfort.”
Beauty products for patients are single-use and donation based. SFTH is always looking for makeup, nail polish, and other beauty product donations to use in makeovers and include in Glam Boxes. Previous donations have come from individual donors as well as manufacturer sponsors.
As a salon or beauty business, you can get involved in SFTH’s partnership program by hosting an event, fundraising, donating, advertising, hosting a beauty product drive, and/or recruiting beauty professionals to volunteer 2 hours of their time and expertise to hospital patients. All partners are promoted via media outlets, SFTH emails, and the SFTH website. Win-win.
Don’t have a lot of time on your hands? Become an ambassador! The recently launched nationwide Ambassador Program allows individuals to reach out to their local hospitals to build on SFTH’s mission in cities around the United States. With support from SFTH, ambassadors are responsible for streamlining Glam Squad teams in a courteous and caring manner by recruiting volunteers, acting as a SFTH liaison, distributing marketing materials in their hospitals and communities, and spreading positivity.
To get involved in making a huge impact on patients’ lives, visit www.simplyfromtheheart.org and fill out a volunteer application to become a member of the Glam Squad, an ambassador, and/or a partner. If you are interested in contributing financially or donating beauty products, visit the donate tab.