Jewell Cardwell: Against all odds, take a look at these moms now

By Jewell Cardwell
Beacon Journal columnist

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Before photo of Patrice Monroe Warfield, one of three mothers named winners of the Inspirational Mother's contest who will be treated to a beauty makeover. (Ed Suba Jr./Akron Beacon Journal)

Those of us blessed with great moms will take time today to celebrate them with a card, gift or dinner.

If she’s gone to glory, perhaps a silent prayer or a visit to her grave will have to do. It will for me.

Whatever way you choose to say “I love you, Mom” for her unconditional love, guidance, support, time and sacrifices in molding us into the people we are today, it’s up to you.

A few local beauty salons wanted to treat some deserving mothers to special makeovers, so I asked readers to tell me why their mother, or a mother they know, was deserving of such a queen-for-a-day experience. If she had exceptional mountains to climb — finances, illness, domestic violence, immigration, homelessness, etc. — and she has become an inspiration to her children and others, I wanted to know.

The response was overwhelming, with the writers going deep for poignant peeks behind private curtains at mothers whose stories tug at our heartstrings and hum with powerful hope. I sifted through more than 50 emails and letters, which I read over and over again, trying to settle on the most compelling. I told some of those stories in previous columns, which you can read on

The task was tough, but I chose these three dynamic mothers, each beautiful in her own way long before these makeovers.

Patrice Monroe Warfield

“Please consider Patrice Monroe War­field a local mom [Canton] who inspires,” wrote her father, Kevin Monroe.

“Patrice is the mother of a lovely 6-year-old daughter, Leahna. In itself, that is certainly not inspirational. The part of the story that inspires is that Patrice is a loving mom and wife who has undergone two heart transplants in her meager 31 years of life — the first when she was 13 and the second last fall.

“I’m not a mother, but I do know that motherhood is a very daunting responsibility, even to one in superb health. Try being a mother when every step you take is challenged by your body’s need to oxygenate itself and having to do so with a failing heart. Try being a mother when faced with the uncertainties that heart disease presents each night as you pray with your daughter!

“As my daughter’s father and a heart patient myself, I am overwhelmed by Patrice’s efforts at motherhood. No, she isn’t the perfect mother. There is no such creature. But she has faced (continues to face) a monumental struggle raising her child in a world where so many others fall woefully short of the goal. Despite her struggles, she never fails to give her all toward making her daughter a loving, caring, God-fearing and prepared person. That, to me, is inspirational!”

Patrice’s beauty makeover was handled by Akron’s Bessay Intelligent Style, owned by J. Cordell Slack and Kenneth G. Slack, who story-boarded ideas with stylist Megan Dempsey on what direction to take. Patrice’s hair was relaxed, then a sew-in hair weave was added for more versatility, with a “Karlie” haircut, ombréd hair color, and a blow dry that was finished with a round brush and flat iron. She also got new makeup.

The team included J. Cordell Slack (relaxer/cut), Brionna Sherrill (shampoo and moisturizer), Alicia Adams (weave), Kim Sellers (national color educator for L’Oreal, color and flat iron), and Lauren Sellers (makeup). She also received a generous supply of hair products.

Clothing and jewelry were compliments of Gerri’s Closet, Uniontown.

Evelyn ‘Evie’ Samples

“When I think of a deserving mother — dedicated, giving, loving — I think of my friend Evelyn “Evie” Samples,” of the Portage Lakes area, wrote Tari Tracy.

“We met 10 years ago — believe it or not at a ladies motorcycle group meeting, Women in the Wind. I was just learning how to ride and she had ridden a motorcycle for decades.

“She was so inspiring — an independent woman. At age 50, she bought a new Harley (right out of the showroom) and rode by herself to Alaska, 9,000 miles round trip …

“She was divorced and had raised three wonderful children. She became a nurse and has been giving critical needs newborns the care and love needed at [Akron] Children’s Hospital NICU [neonatal intensive care unit] for over 25 years. She so much wanted to spend her days with a loving companion and prayed to God to bring that person to her. She thought that is what a man she met was supposed to give her, but it became abusive and she went through a very troublesome time. But that part of her life is over.

“Her sister passed suddenly a few years ago and Evie had an opportunity presented to her. She adopted a baby that for family reasons may have gone into foster care. Evie realized that God had answered her prayers and sent her that someone special in the form of a baby, not a man! She gave up riding her motorcycle because she now had someone who relied on her. A difficult decision, but as she has said, an easy decision.

“The final adoption was finally set, sealed and given. Happiness all around. Then one week later, Evie got the diagnosis. Cervical cancer. Not now! She has been going through treatments and has had to take time off of work. Evie is such a giving woman, and has given the ultimate — a mother to a child — that she deserves something given back to her. A makeover or just a little bit of pampering would be perfect.”

Evie has donated her hair multiple times to Locks of Love Inc. which makes wigs for children who have suffered medical hair loss due to chemotherapy or alopecia.

Evie’s makeover was handled by Green’s Scott Talbot Salonspa with the blessings of owners Shelly Talbot-Hepner and Jeff Scott. Evie was treated to a massage by Katy Costello; a facial by Cheyenne Goehler; pedicure and manicure by Emily Gillentine; haircolor and style by Ashley Ring; and makeup application by Erica Bayne.

Clothing and jewelry were compliments of Gerri’s Closet in Uniontown.

Martha Joven

“Martha Joven [formerly of Akron, now of Tallmadge] is a fighter. She emigrated from Colombia, South America, approximately 13 years ago. She has been persistent in her efforts to learn English and understand cultural differences, especially to communicate with her daughter’s teachers. She is the devoted, single mother of a fifth-grader who she has raised by herself,” wrote Jean Kreyche, tutor for Martha’s daughter and previously for English as a Second Language for Martha, nominating her on behalf of Project RISE [Realizing Individual Strengths through Education].

“Five years ago, Martha was diagnosed with cancer. She has undergone several surgeries which required the removal of sections of various organs, and yet she continues to live alone with her daughter and supports herself by cleaning houses … Martha’s daughter is perfectly bilingual since she has always shared with her child the love of her native language and culture. She has encouraged her to be a hardworking student and sets a good example by continuing her own study of English. Her daughter is also becoming a confident and good pianist since Martha trades piano lessons for house cleaning.

“Life has presented Martha with incredible obstacles which she continues to tackle with determination, courage, faith and a smile.”

Debra Manteghi, executive director of Project RISE, added, “This mother is remarkable in what she has overcome. I have witnessed her sorrow, hardship, and heartbreaking series of events. However, I have also seen her endurance in the face of serious health issues, obstacles and disappointments. Notably, I remember her generous spirit as she made candles for many during the holidays, and her willingness to help with any small or large task. But paramount is her love for her daughter and her determination to get her a good education and to provide a loving, caring home environment for them no matter how little they have. Martha has truly inspired me and touched my spirit in many ways!”

Martha’s beauty makeover was handled by Akron’s Bella Bronze salon. Owners Rachel Indermuhle and Joseph Arrowood rolled out the red carpet for Martha, providing her with a cut, color (from the Chromatics line), highlights, deep treatment and style. Main stylist was Michelle Reid assisted by Lauren Konn. She also was gifted with a generous supply of hair products.

Gerri’s Closet is providing clothing to be picked up at Martha’s leisure.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Jewell Cardwell can be reached at 330-996-3567 or

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