TMC for Seniors director honored with Remarkable Mom recognition

IMG_0021Maya Luria’s heart shred watching her 17-year-old daughter, Kelsey, struggle in her battle with a rare and aggressive form of leukemia.

One painful memory was watching her daughter see herself for the first time during chemotherapy treatment without the long blonde locks that were such a hallmark for the high school senior.

But that was before she watched the surprisingly transformative power of a professional photo shoot, when she watched Kelsey ditch her wig and then light up, laugh and pose. It was an unplanned event – just a kind gesture from an acquaintance. But Kelsey had realized – hair or no – those resulting images reflected her own strength, confidence and determination.

She wanted other children and families to feel that same sense of empowerment in the face of what can be an unrelenting disease. In the hospital, Kelsey said she wanted the service to be called the Bald Beauties Project and it would offer free professional photographs to children and teens fighting cancer.

Drawn to journalism, writing and sports, the Catalina Foothills High student had planned to beat the disease and attend the University of Arizona. She passed away a few days after her 18th birthday.

Luria has kept Kelsey’s spirit alive by leading the Bald Beauties Project her daughter envisioned – an accomplishment that is being recognized at the annual Remarkable Celebration by Tu Nidito that this year is honoring five local mothers.

“Kelsey once wrote that she would change the world and this is our way of honoring that,” Luria said. “This was her vision and something I want to continue to offer to others as a way to help families who are going through unthinkable strain.”

Luria, also mom to 17-year-old Max – the light of her life and now a high school senior – has treasured those photos of her daughter.

Since its inception, the Bald Beauties Project has provided more than 85 photo shoots for children throughout the community – and the demand continues to grow. There have already been 15 photo shoots this year, with another 10 in process.

“I feel every mom is a remarkable mom, so I was really honored to be considered for this recognition,” Luria said, and especially since Kelsey gave her back so much. “Kelsey lived her life with strength and courage and love – and that’s something I hold with me every day.”

To read more about Bald Beauties, please visit the Bald Beauties Project website.  

To learn more about the Remarkable Moms being honored May 12, please visit Tu Nidito’s website 

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