Barb A.

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To say that Barb is a strong and resilient woman is an understatement. In the sixty years that my mom has been on this earth, she has been through so many challenges and still manages to make everyone around her smile and happy. My mom became my friend, caretaker, and my rock in October 2000 when I was diagnosed with Leukemia at the age of 17. My mom never missed an appointment through my three long years of chemotherapy. My mom was an excellent caretaker and provided emotional, physical, and financial support to me during this time, all the while not missing a beat with my two siblings and father. She always was able to make me smile through my days of hair loss, weight gain, and missing out on my independent teenage life. I am now a survivor and could not have made it through without her. I honestly believe she is the reason I am alive today. In 2010, my mom was once again dealt a tragedy when my oldest brother was killed in a car accident on October 31. My family was faced with a loss that was so big, we wondered at times if we could go on and ever feel normal. My family has ben through so much and is still grieving the loss of my brother. We lean on each other and have become very close. I am getting married on August 10, 2013, and feel that this has allowed my mom and I a time to bond, laugh, and look forward to positive moments ahead. My mom is deserving of this makeover to feel good again, to be rewarded for her strength, to thank her for her love, and to be able to share in a day of smiles. 

From this issue

Tasha Blackmon was born to teenaged parents, who worked hard to provide for their family and stressed the importance of education.
When he was just 18 years old, Larry DeShane, Jr., Center Administrator at Grand Rapids Pride Center, summoned the courage to tell his parents he was gay.
According to data from Burning Glass Technologies, the current welding workforce is projected to need over 470,000 welders by 2022, yet only 3.4 percent of those currently doing those jobs are women.
West Michiganders have it good: When it comes to destinations we can visit in a day, the options are abundant.