10 inspiring stories just in time for the holidays
Diapers aren’t cheap! That’s what Corinne Cannon learned after having her first child. Corrine’s organization delivers diapers to low-income families who are in desperate need. DC Diaper Bank gives diapers to more than 1,500 families per month -- totaling over 500,000 diapers to date!
Brittany Wenger, 19, started Cloud4Cancer after her cousin was diagnosed with breast cancer. Cloud4Cancer is a computer program that helps diagnose breast cancer. It teaches the cloud to recognize breast cancer by using artificial intelligence to read and interpret data about cancer cells. Her program is now in beta use by two hospitals, diagnoses with 99 percent accuracy and could potentially help millions.
When a tornado ripped through her town, Stephanie Decker jumped in front of falling debris to protect her children -- leaving her without use of her legs. But Stephanie didn’t let this devastating injury bring her down! She dedicated her life and work to the Stephanie Decker Foundation, which helps kids with prosthetics participate in sports, while also helping people gain access to the costly devices.
At a young age, Shaaron Funderburk was a victim of abuse. She turned to drugs and prostitution, and ended up homeless. Shaaron beat her addiction in 1994 and turned her life around, but she didn’t stop there. She started Off the Streets Program, an organization that provides women a safe, nonjudgmental place to recover from addiction and abuse, and become self-sufficient. Shaaron got the help she needed and is now able to help others.
In 2005, Phyllis Sudman lost her son, Simon, to an unknown heart defect, 13 weeks after he was born. Phyllis needed support after such a traumatic loss and formed Simon’s Fund, which raises awareness for early detection of rare heart conditions. She’s helped screen over 10,000 students, which has helped detect more than 100 heart conditions. Her selflessness and determination make her a true inspiration.
At the ripe age of 25, Rachel R. Jackson-Bramwell was a single mom and full-time college student. With all that responsibility, Rachel still had time to help care for those in her community. After passing families living on the streets, she founded Project Compassion, which has provided more than 45,000 women and children with education and empowerment initiatives to help curb poverty and homelessness.
Deborah dedicated her entire life to her country. She retired after 20-years in the Army, which didn’t stop her from supporting her fellow men and women. She started Operation Renewed Hope Foundation to help end homelessness among veterans, a serious epidemic plaguing America. They help provide housing, transportation, services and more to our nation’s bravest. They have helped over 300 veterans in Virginia alone.
When Jenny Williamson learned her home of Sacramento was a major hub for sex trafficking, she went from being broken hearted to very mad. Jenny created Courage Worldwide with the mission to build homes for children rescued out of sex trafficking. The organization offers trauma therapy, on-site schools, art studios, and a variety of classes for social and life skills on a mission to empower the beginning of a new journey
When Mary Hoodhood learned that kids in her neighborhood were rummaging through the garbage for food, she decided to do something about it. Mary started Kids’ Food Basket, an organization that provides take-home meals for 6.3K kids at 32 schools, the largest anti-hunger mission in the state of Michigan. Her determination and will has helped countless families and continues to impact her community.
With her 7-year-old son, Max, battling brain cancer, Audra Wilford realized there was a lack of support for families in similar situations. She created MaxLove Project, which provides families fighting childhood cancers with accessible, practical and kid-friendly whole-body wellness resources, education and research.
We all have women in our lives who have truly made an impact. Whether their contributions are small or large, they deserve recognition. And some women have gone even further, taking great strides in hopes of raising awareness for causes near to their hearts and their communities. These women are celebrated every year as part of L'Oréal Paris' Women of Worth program.
The Women of Worth program honors extraordinary women who are making a difference in the world and tackling issues head-on, like homeless veterans, childhood hunger, breast cancer detection, human trafficking and more. Their perseverance and determination make them truly remarkable.
Click through the gallery above to hear more about ten of the Women of Worth nominees and to get inspired!