A huge congratulations is in order for Elaine Brausch of Lake Wylie, SC! I was recently approached by Beauty Revived to find an amazing woman in South Carolina to feature in their upcoming magazine "America's 50 Most Beautiful Women." I donated sessions to two beautiful, strong, amazing women, Elaine and Grace, both with stories of survival and beauty that shines inside and out.
Elaine's session was a blast! She's a natural in front of the camera. As we laughed and walked in the cool Fall air, she told her story: (written by Corey Brausch; makeup artist: Rose Plesz)
Elaine Leone Brausch, like the quote by Kate Spade, “leaves a little sparkle wherever she goes.” In May of 2015, Elaine was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. “It’s devastating news when you get it, and then you wrap your head around it and you just come to terms with it,” she said.
When receiving the news, her husband Richard Brausch took the news hard while Elaine stayed strong.
Once Elaine started receiving chemotherapy, she called it her sparkle juice. For family and friends to show support and ovarian cancer awareness, shirts were made with the phrase “keep calm and sparkle on” and it has been the motto since.
“When I am having my infusions, I picture it like little Pac-Man eating up the cancer and then pushing out glitter from the other end,” Elaine said.
Through the devastating news and the rounds of chemotherapy, Elaine stays positive through her faith and trust in God. “I know that God doesn’t cause this…and why not me, you know?”
Instead of treating life like it’s a last chance for experiences, she finds the little things, the normal routine, to be comforting. She says her biggest treasure is being married to her very first love, Richard.
The first few rounds went smoothly, with minimal nausea and discomfort. Each day, even when going through chemotherapy, Elaine completes 10,000 steps on her FitBit. Along with those 10,000 steps, she spends some evenings dancing and enjoying the South Carolina weather.
Around the three-week mark, hair loss began. But, that didn’t stop Elaine from going out and doing what she loves to do. “I got up this morning and each time I run my hands through I get about 10 strands. So what does a girl like me do, you ask? Go to the Y and dance,” she said. When she went home later that day she decided to buzz her hair off to ¾ an inch. Because of her scalp being tender, taking the weight off was a relief. Wigs are an option to Elaine but she decided she was more of a scarf-wearing girl.
Around the time of Elaine and Richard’s 50th anniversary, a trip to England and Scotland was planned. The doctor cleared the trip and they were able to go. When she arrived back, a surgery was scheduled for August 20th. During the procedure, a hysterectomy was performed along with the removal of the sigmoid colon and two feet of intestines. The healing process went well and then on September 29th, a inter-peritoneal port was placed for infusions. In the most recent weeks, Elaine has been struggling with pain due to abdominal fluid, which is common with Ovarian Cancer. An additional type of chemotherapy was added and this round has been rough on her. She has been struggling with fluid in her lungs and keeps it at bay with frequent doctor visits. Even though it is a battle that is growing more difficult, she is handling it with more grace and patience than the previous day.
After our session, as we walked back to the car, I began to worry that the cold air on Elaine's lungs and the long walk may have worn on her. Later that night, I messaged her to make sure she was feeling ok. Of course she was! In typical Elaine fashion, she was seizing every moment of the day by enjoying an ice cream by the lake with her husband!
Elaine's story was chosen for the Beauty Revived magazine, "America's 50 Most Beautiful Women." Purchase your copy today to support this incredible photography movement. Every other month, we will be supporting the Beauty Revived campaign by donating sessions to beautiful women and children. Please follow us on Instagram and Facebook to stay informed of our current campaign. Details of each campaign will be provided on our website under the Beauty Revived Campaign link. The current campaign is looking for the "50 Most Beautiful High School Senior Girls and 25 Most Amazing Senior Guys." Nominate someone you know today!