In honour of courageous people that have faced huge adversity in their lives, Karen Betts held her third annual Gift of Confidence Day at the Sanderson hotel in London on Wednesday.
After racking up an impressive 20 years of experience in the industry, Karen Betts is one of the UK’s leading authorities in permanent make-up and medical tattooing.
In the months leading up to the event, Karen Betts and her team scoured the country for Very Inspirational People (VIPs) and decided on four of the most deserving of all of the nominations received. The ‘Fab Four’ were invited to the Sanderson hotel in London for breakfast followed by top-to-toe pampering with bespoke treatments tailored to each VIPs needs, ranging from make-up services to microblading from the likes of HD Brows and the K.B. Pro team.
The evening began with an introductory speech given by Karen Betts revealing an insight into the day’s shenanigans as well as touching on the charities of her two guests, Katie Piper and Alex Lewis, both of which are very close to her heart. As the host for the evening, Katie Piper proceeded to take over and kicked off the event by disclosing her own story. The TV presenter and philanthropist rebuilt her life after surviving an acid attack in March 2008 at the age of 24 and spoke about her close relationship with Karen that has continued to blossom since becoming one of her clients. After an inspiring start, Katie gave the stage to motivational speaker, Alex, who left not a single dry eye in the room.
Alex told the guests of his story in a humorous and light-hearted manner; however it was clear that the speech touched the hearts of everyone present. Speaking of how he thought he had caught a common cold in 2013, Alex revealed one morning that he woke unable to communicate, later collapsed and was rushed to hospital and admitted to the intensive care unit before being told that he had contracted Strep A toxic shock syndrome. As a result, he had four limbs amputated and part of his mouth and nose reconstructed. He praised Karen for her work in giving him ‘new lips’, admitting that he didn’t fully understand ‘beauty’ before his experience at Karen Betts’ clinic. The room roared with applause upon the ending of his emotional speech, making room for Katie to introduce the four ladies that had been acknowledged for their similar admirable resilience and strength.
The four courageous VIPs were revealed to be Diana Armstrong, Sophie Harris, Carly Barratt and Tracy Dickinson: each lady overcoming extreme hardship throughout their lives.
Diana lost both her sister and lifelong best friend to cancer in the space of a few months, later losing all of her hair due to the grief and stress that she was under. In 2016, she went to the doctors for a sore throat and was diagnosed with lung cancer. The following months saw Diana undergo daily chemotherapy and radiotherapy plus surgery to remove the lymph and is now back to work having had the all clear from her remission scans.
Sophie was born with clubfoot and has endured a number of operations before having her leg amputated in February 2017. Nominated by her friend Claire who she had met on a clubfoot Facebook group, Sophie is training to be an endurance athlete for Great Britain’s Paralympic rowing team on the development squad and soon to be internationally classified.
Carly was diagnosed with alopecia universalis yet decided to use her experience to help others experiencing a similar journey. She started a wig consultancy to help people find their perfect new hair – while also acting as an emotional support network – and volunteers for Alopecia UK and Changing Faces.
Tracy was homeless from the age of 14 and now runs Tracy’s Street Kitchen in Nottingham every Friday night, cooking for around 130 people that need food. Dedicated to looking after her ‘homeless family’, Tracy organises food donations, clothes, sleeping bags and toiletries for the homeless.
Introduced to the stage one-by-one, the ladies were each given a moment to shine in front of their family and friends. Beaming with confidence, all four women were dressed by TV presenter and stylist, Hayley Sparks, using clothes gifted by Next and the Katie Piper collection by Want That Trend and showed off the results of the treatments given to them throughout the day. Given the chance to share their own personal stories, there was a sense of immense gratitude among the Fab Four, each thanking Karen for their Gift of Confidence. Tracy concluded, “It’s not about the make-up or the clothes, it’s about feeling like myself again for the first time in a long time and that’s how I feel… I feel like me.”
The event came to a close as the four VIPs were reunited with friends and family and treated to champagne and canapés for a glamorous ending to a truly moving, uplifting and inspirational event.
Find out more about Karen Betts’ Gift of Confidence here.