After our friend and style guru Gretta Monahan bravely shared the story of her own battle with breast cancer, we couldn't let her leave without having her do what she does best — give one of our viewers a well-deserved makeover!
Meet Katie — a middle and high school English teacher from Long Island who was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer in 2016.
"She went through over 40 treatments of radiation," Gretta tells Rach. "She had a windy, twisty road — but the great news is, she is cancer-free. And more importantly, she is an unbelievable inspiration, because she's a teacher [and] she used this difficult time in her life to give back."
"It was a total shock," Katie tells us about her diagnosis. "It was [a] routine [check-up]. I didn't know of any family history."
"I knew at that moment that I needed to be strong for her, so I kept a straight face," Katie's husband says. "It felt like the wind got knocked out of me, but I kept myself calm to make her calm."
Unsurprisingly, he was there for every appointment and surgery — and today, Katie is cancer-free. 💕
"Early detection is key, and I was told if I had missed that appointment, within six months, it would've gone to another stage," Katie explains. "And that is very, very scary."
"People need to realize that," she stresses. "You can't be afraid to go."
As Gretta mentioned, Katie used her journey as inspiration to give back — and we couldn't love her more for that.
"I wanted to turn a negative into a positive and came up with this idea of Pink October [to] raise awareness in the school community and raise as much money as we can by doing various activities," she tells us.
Is she not incredible?
Katie's favorite activity? Pink It Up Day. "The maintenance crew outlines a breast cancer ribbon on our courtyard lawn for us, and we fill in that ribbon," she explains.
Look how amazing:
Rachael Ray Show
In three years, Katie has helped raise close to $20,000 for various breast cancer support programs on Long Island and for national campaigns, as well. Amazing!
"Breast cancer has changed my life. You look at things a little differently. You feel definitely more empowered [and think], 'If I got through that, I can get through this,'" Katie says. (You sure can, girl!)
"I want to look even more unstoppable and confident than I know I am," she tells us.
And that's where our girl Gretta comes in. Watch the video above to see Katie's stunning makeover reveal (which included pieces from Gretta's clothing store, Gretta Luxe, and Rach's new handbag line, Convalore) — and stick around for an emotional surprise at the end.