How It Started
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It began with a piece of fabric
Losing her hair was a profound moment for our founder Maria Luisa. As a teacher, she worried about how her students, families, and co-workers would react. It was not a comfortable feeling knowing she was going to be seen by everyone in such vulnerable way. When she received a scarf, gifted by her best friend, and a week later another by her cousin and his wife, it made the difference in how she went about to face her reality. It was such a meaningful moment.
The second she put on the first scarf and looked in the mirror everything changed. She felt beautiful and empowered to face the world. She wore each of those scarves every day whether they matched her attire or not. Having those gifted scarves from the people she loved gave her courage and strength to become truly comfortable in her own skin. It lifted her soul and gave her a “ray of sunshine.” At the same time, it felt as she had been given the torch in the hardest relay race and it was her turn to finish the race.
It was finishing that race and conquering the fight, which inspired Maria Luisa to help other women walking the same path. The idea of spreading courage and lifting women's soul during their struggle with breast cancer was born after she completed treatment in October 2016. She wanted to share the same joy and courage she felt when she received her scarves.
Her story opened the doors to spread the message of courage and strength at Advocate Illinois Masonic - Creticos Cancer Center, where she received care. For her survivorship party, she asked guests to bring a scarf as a donation to pass on hope and courage on their behalf to women facing hair loss due to chemotherapy. From one piece of fabric came a “ray of sunshine” brought to women fighting cancer at Creticos.
This led to the creation of Courage for the Soul in May 2017 with the mission to spread courage and strength one scarf at a time to women fighting cancer. All Ages, All Stages, and All Cancers.
Surprisingly, when I thought I had learned the way to live life, in a blink cancer changed my path. I learned how to embrace my life within the limits of cancer and figure out how to feel happy whenever possible because tomorrow is not a promise.