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They lost their mom to cancer; now they are on a mission to help others

They lost their mom to cancer; now they are on a mission to help others

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Two sisters are on a mission – to provide joy for those who are going through a hard time.

A true labor of love, their mission, named Day of Sass, is very close to their hearts because it not only honors their mom but also helps women who are going through the difficult days of chemotherapy.

Day of Sass is organized by sisters Jamie Beecham and Kristen Mayle as a special way of remembering their mom, Sheila Braniff, who died at the age of 64 from cancer. Sheila was nicknamed “Sassy” by grandchildren Cooper and Jovie, who thought that Sassy was a better description of their loving, energetic grandmother. Thus, the name, “Day of Sass” was given in her honor.

The special day, which was intended to be a one-time occurrence last year to honor their mom on what would have been her 70th birthday, was held in Statesville. However, Kristen said, “it was such a fun time, a life-affirming, soul-fulfilling day, filled with joy.”

When their mom was alive, the family did birthdays big and after their mom died, Kristen shared that Jamie came up with an idea to continue that tradition of remembering their mom’s birthday in a big way by reaching out to those who were suffering from cancer and going through chemotherapy. And therefore, the pair is making Day of Sass a special annual event to be held on their mom’s birthday, Oct. 2.

This year they are partnering with Langtree Plantation in Mooresville to host a free Day of Sass from 3-7 p.m. During the event, as was the case last year, they will be providing to those facing chemotherapy the opportunity to enjoy a facial, receive a massage, have their nails done, have professional individual and/or family photographs taken, enjoy some light refreshments and receive free gifts - all at no charge.

They both stressed that the spa day is absolutely free to the women who attend.

“We aren’t selling anything, there is no money involved, there’s no strings attached. It’s a labor or love,” said Kristen

They just need to receive nominations of women that could benefit from a spa event. Names of ladies can be submitted by family or friends or ladies can nominate themselves by going to Any woman age 18-100 who is undergoing cancer treatment can be nominated to participate. Names are due by Sept. 1, and the sisters will notify the applicants afterward to inform them of their selection and of time slots. Nominations are not limited to Mooresville and Iredell County; however, each person selected is responsible for their own travel expenses.

Looking for a place to host their special Day of Sass, they decided to contact Langtree Plantation. Since Jamie lived in the Mooresville area, she knew about the location.

“They have been wonderful to work with,” Jamie said.

We believe they “felt a connection for the cause and believe in what we are trying to do,” said Kristen.

And what they are trying to do is “share joy in hard times, we really want to serve as many as possible,” said Jamie.

However, due to time constraints, around 15-20 women can be selected to participate and be pampered. A cosmetologist will be coming to give free facials, a photographer will capture the day in print with free family photographs offered and a therapist will be available who specialized in cancer massages as well as someone who will put on false eyelashes for the ladies and more.

One of the patients who attended last year’s Day of Sass teared up as she looked at herself in the mirror after getting her facial and seeing the eyebrows drawn on by the cosmetologist as she had not had eyebrows in a year.

And not only was last year’s event meaningful to the ladies who benefited from the spa and special treatment, but their families were touched as well.

One husband who attended last year with his wife “was so excited to see her so happy, and overwhelmed just to see his wife feel good,” the sisters shared.

All of the services and gifts are being donated, including the services being provided, free finger food and free cosmetics from Utah-based BeCause Cosmetics, which donated 12 boxes of cosmetics for last year’s event. Those enjoying the day will also be given a free swag bag filled with various items donated by sisters Kim Rector and Jenny Harron, who likewise are reaching out to others to honor their mom Katherine who they lost to cancer. Their organization, called Katherine’s Big Give, provides 31 bags filled with blankets, water bottles, lotion, puzzle books and more for those going through treatment.

These bags are “filled with love,” Kristen said.

Ladies who participate in the day will also receive Sassy Caps and seatbelt pillows, both made by Kristen and Jamie, which are given away free to those going through treatment.

When their mom got sick, the whole family went to Arizona and lived together taking care of her, the sisters shared. And when she died, they felt they needed to reach out to others just as so many had given to them and helped them during this time.

They make the caps and pillows and give them away. That is one stipulation they have about their special handmade items.

“They can’t be sold,” stressed Kristen

“We are all about free,” said Jamie.

What they do is a true labor of love reaching out to others in need. And they teach others how to make the items and share with those who have cancer. They have taught in schools and church groups with ages 5 to 91 making the fun, soft hats.

What started in Arizona with their mom has now spread to other states including North Carolina, Virginia, Florida, Mississippi, California, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Maryland.

“After a loved one passes or when someone is sick, you feel helpless,” said Jamie. “We help people find how they can serve, structure a way to volunteer.”

That serving helps the one giving as well as the one receiving as the sisters have experienced.

“Healing happens when you serve people,” shared Kristen.

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