Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in her early 20s, this vibrant former beautician inspired us when she told us that MS has actually made her stronger. At the shoot, she charmed us, telling us her story of meeting Rod Stewart—she's seen him in concert 16 times!—and appearing in the opening credits of The Oprah Winfrey Show. Keep reading to see what keeps her going—and her skin glowing.
My two older sisters completed a cosmetology program, and we had a homemade salon in the basement. It wasn't long before I, too, was giving my friends haircuts. However, MS had a different agenda.
Stronger than ever
MS has taught me you have a choice: You can live life or sit still and let it pass you by. Stand up and take life on!
I was in Key West, Florida, and paid $4 for a pair of sterling earrings crafted with four semi-precious beads. The more I looked at them and their simplicity, the more I loved them, and it dawned on me … I can do this! So I purchased wire, pliers and beads and got creative. Before I knew it, I was handcrafting bracelets, necklaces, earrings, anklets and even rosaries, which I personalize for my family members.
Sharing the happiness
What I love most about crafting jewelry is giving it to people and sharing in their happiness. I also love the peace and serenity I feel when creating and crafting. I have limited use of my right hand, so when I finish a piece, it's that much sweeter.
What friends are for
What you should know about MS
True friendship can, and will, live forever if you want it to. In February, my BFF pulled together our many special friends, going as far back as third grade, to donate time and material to completely renovate my home, a huge caring effort of many incredible people to help make my life easier and more comfortable. That's love.
Although it is an incurable disease, it's not a death sentence. Living with diversity builds character.
Best skincare advice for others
Take care of you. Give yourself five minutes a day to cleanse, hydrate and nourish. The benefits are felt all over, all day. When you feel radiant, you'll want to shine!
More about Debbie
Who are your beauty icons?
Angelina Jolie is very pretty. But to me, true beauty is on the inside. My mom is beautiful.
Tell us about your involvement with the National MS Society Annual Walk?
In the past, I have volunteered on the committee for the Chicago chapter to help organize and work the fundraising walks: everything from finding people and businesses for donations to answering the phones. In recent years, I formed a team (doin4deb), and we raised $10,000!
What is your favorite movie?
I love “The Big Chill,” because it brings a group of very special friends back together as adults, portraying how deep the bonds of lasting friendship and love can go.