Dreams come in a variety of packages. Sometimes, they’re goals of going back to school, starting a company or going on an exotic adventure. Sometimes, they’re focused on making an impact within a community or on a global scale. Often, there’s a long road between the first inklings of a vision and the reality of bringing a lofty goal to life.
Or sometimes, as with Lisa McKenzie, a small business owner in Covington, Louisiana, this road is a runway.
McKenzie is on a mission to help cancer survivors take back their confidence with You Night, a six- to eight-week program that leads women survivors of cancer on an emotionally restorative journey and culminates with an empowering runway event.
Below is the story McKenzie shared with @CapitalOne about how she has achieved her audacious dream.
One woman’s dream to empower
McKenzie knows how personally rewarding it can be to lift others up. The owner of Ooh La Bra, a Louisiana-based small business known for its beautiful bra straps, McKenzie intimately understands the healing power of confidence.
In order to further make a difference in the lives of her customers and empower women battling cancer, McKenzie began developing plans for You Night — and slowly, the concept took corporeal form. Today, the events provide a safe environment for women to come together, share their stories and inspire one another.
“These ladies to me mean everything. They’re the strongest women in the world.”
Since she began pursuing her dream, McKenzie has been a Capital One Spark Business cardholder. Capital One has been with her every step of the way, as she had access to some incredible services to bring her philanthropic vision to life. She often contacted their highly experienced Spark Business Customer Service, who was available seven days, to help her budget out her program expenses – slowly transforming her dream into a concrete reality.
You Night aims to help the models visualize their inner strength and beauty in a physical manner. In front of their support systems – friends, families, caretakers, nurses and doctors – and with the help of professional stylists, the survivors bravely strut their stuff on stage. Just a few steps down a runway dressed to the nines can feel as satisfying as crossing a marathon finish line.
Watch Lisa’s story
Charo Arnold is just one of the women whose life has been touched by this initiative. After winning her battle with cancer as a new mother, she sought the support of You Night.
“In the beginning, I thought there was no way I was going to be able to put on high heels and walk down the stage in some fancy gown,” says Arnold in the video above. “But our runway coaches showed us how to pose and stand, and being able to try these dresses on and have my makeup done and my hair done, made me feel like a woman again.”
The events not only help raise awareness within the local community, they also foster sisterhood among women who have survived cancer.
“Right before you walk down the runway, you’re full of this positive, empowering energy,” says Arnold.
For McKenzie, the events are more than just a way to make an impact within her local community — they’re the realization of a dream. “These ladies to me mean everything. They’re the strongest women in the world,” she says. “My dream is to empower one and impact many.”
Share your dreams
Spread the word about your own dreams — the #DefineYourDream campaign is seeking additional stories to share with the world.
Are you challenging the status quo or inspiring others to make a difference? Share your story on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter for a chance to be featured in an upcoming story. Just use @CapitalOne and the hashtag #DefineYourDream now through Jan. 31 for a chance to be featured.