Glam squad helps cancer patients feel beautiful

Designer Ubana Chappa organizes beauty makeovers


SAN ANTONIO – With a little lip shimmer and eye shadow, some cancer patients were treated to a day of pampering Thursday.

It was a chance for them to get their sparkle on.

Deserea Morgan’s sparkle dimmed last October when she was feeling so ill she went to the emergency room.

“The next thing you know, the ER doctor comes in and says, ‘You have pneumonia and leukemia,’” she said.

On Thursday morning, a room at Methodist Hospital turned into makeover central. Morgan and four other cancer patients were gifted with a glam squad treatment organized by Los Angeles designer Urbana Chappa, a Beeville native.

“It was really important for me to give them that extra 'oomph,' because a lot of people who go through this disease start to lose their spirit,” she said.

Chappa knows. She is a breast cancer survivor herself. Her mission is to help women battling cancer, whom she calls sparkle warriors, to feel pretty, sexy and empowered. Nail polish, blush and custom-made wigs serve as powerful medicine.

“A lot of people think hair is not a big deal, but when you lost it, it’s a big deal," she said.

Jovette Muniz, who was a teacher until she was diagnosed with leukemia last August, is also a mom and ex-Marine.

“I’m the president of the happy club,” Muniz said. “When they told me my diagnosis, I’m like, ‘All right. Let’s go. It’s time to fight.’”

Sixty-nine days ago, she underwent a lifesaving bone marrow transplant with her son as the donor. Although she said she’s not really a “girly-girl,” she was soaking up the personal attention.

“Just having this done, to me, it’s fun,” Muniz said. “It’s dress-up.”

Morgan, who’s in remission, said she is a girly-girl. The cosmetics session and the long, silky wig with blonde highlights seemed to be just what the doctor ordered.

“To be sitting in the chair and have somebody take time to do what I physically can’t do at the moment is overwhelmingly exciting,” she said.

After a quick lip gloss touch-up and spritz of hairspray, it was time for Morgan to get a glimpse of herself in the mirror.

“Wow! My makeup is going to start running,” she said as she wiped away a tear. “I feel beautiful.”

About the Authors: