For Mother’s Day this year I decided to giveaway an awesome makeover to a deserving mum. Choosing a winner for a makeover is no easy feat, there were countless entries and everyone that entered was so deserving. To be honest every mum I know deserves a makeover! However, I could only pick one. There was one mum, Jo who stood out. Instead of listing all the reasons why she deserved a makeover, she simply wrote “I could do with a bit of special”.
I was aware that a few years ago Jo’s daughter Xanthe was diagnosed with Leukemia.
Our daughters were in the same grade at the same school. As a mother to three healthy children, I couldn’t even begin to understand what Jo and Xanthe had gone through. I made the heartfelt decision that Jo would be the winner, she deserved a ‘lot’ of special.
Jo was so excited when I announced she had won, in fact Jo said she has been a big fan of mine for a long time. She even admitted to having one of my decade old articles pinned to the inside of her cupboard door. (Unexpected and flattering at the same time haha).
Our styling session began like most, with Jo explaining all the reasons why her style was the way it was. It wasn’t great, it wasn’t bad, it was somewhere in between. Jo explained to me how on the 26th of January 2011 (Australia Day) was a day she’d never forget. The hospital phoned and said Xanthe is very ill, pack your bags for three months, you are both on the next flight to the Royal Children’s Hospital in Brisbane.
What would you pack for a 3-month trip, if you were only given a couple of hours?
Jo was on auto-pilot, she packed her cosmetics, skincare, hair products, hair straightener, jeans, tops, a few dresses and of course her heels. At the time Jo was thinking that no-one wears thongs in Brisbane!
When you’re emotionally down, it’s the time to dress up.
The first few weeks in hospital Jo would get dressed, straighten her hair, apply her makeup and put on her heels. Even though it may have seemed superficial, it was her way of feeling normal. She could feel the nurse’s eyes on her but was resolved that this was only a few months and things would be back to normal.
However, three months turned into four, five, six and in total Jo and Xanthe had spent eight months away from their home in Cairns. In and out of the hospital and temporary accommodation. Plus, an extra two years of flying back and forth for chemo. What astonished me about Jo was her humbleness, strength and unconditional love for her daughter. Jo shaved her head when Xanthe started her chemo treatment (truthfully I don’t know and don’t want to know if I could do that).
Jo has spent every minute of every day loving, worrying and caring for her sick daughter. In the process of focusing solely on Xanthe she lost sight of herself. Jo is not an exception, as mothers we are constantly thinking of our children whether they are sick or not. The devotion to our children is unwavering, there is nothing we wouldn’t do, give or sacrifice including our entire being.
The one thing every mum fails to do is to take time out for themselves!
Putting yourself first may seem like an impossible task but please take time out for you!
Go to the hairdressers, nail salon, shopping for clothes and lunch with your friends. Trust me your kids will thank you for it!
"Everybody deserves to feel like this, confident, beautiful and important. I had the most AMAZING experience with you Gerlinda; I have found a new attitude, not just a new wardrobe". Jo Nistchke
Thankfully Xanthe is currently in remission! If you would like to donate, both Jo and Xanthe’s favourite foundation is www.makeawish.org.au/donate
Xanthe will be speaking at the 2016 FNQ Emergency Services Charity Ball,on Saturday August 6. You can buy tickets here: www.fnqemergencyservicesball.org
Thank you to www.facebook.com/studio78hair, www.carlykphotography.com.au and www.shoppingcentres.stockland.com.au/centres/stockland-cairns for being part of the makeover.