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March 02. 2014 11:09PM

The beauty of helping your neighbor


Brenda Levesque, right, owner of The Avon Store in Hudson, is donating a portion of her in-store and online sales proceeds to assist the family of McKenzie Lowe, 12, left, with medical expenses. Lowe was diagnosed with a rare and inoperable brain tumor in November 2012. (Courtesy)

HUDSON — The owner of the state’s only licensed Avon Beauty Center didn’t hesitate when asked to help out one of her neighbors in need.

Hudson resident Brenda Levesque, who operates The Avon Store in her hometown, said that after meeting McKenzie Lowe, a local 12-year-old suffering from an inoperable brain tumor, she was inspired to donate a portion of her store’s proceeds and hopes to raise at least $2,500.

“She’s such a special kid,” Levesque said of the Hudson sixth grader.

Levesque has been selling Avon products for nearly two decades. About six years ago she opened her retail store at 20 Lowell Road and since then she’s enjoyed a successful solo career, both at her Hudson headquarters and via her website.

The retail store carries a full line of Avon beauty products, including cosmetics, jewelry, fragrances and personal care items.

After launching her fundraiser in February, Levesque said she decided to extend her efforts well into March due to the welcoming response of her customers.

Lowe’s grandfather Frank LaFountain, who put his retirement in Florida on hold to help out Lowe and the family, said the ongoing support comes at a much-needed time.

“We’ve been through so much this past year and a half,” LaFountain said. “Insurance doesn’t cover everything and the needs are high.”

Lowe was diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), a rare form of brain cancer, in November 2012. Conventional treatments haven’t worked on the preteen’s tumor and now the family is hoping to start Lowe on an experimental treatment that isn’t currently approved by the FDA.

Should the family be successful in obtaining the FDA’s permission, Lowe’s medications would be provided from the Burzynski Clinic in Texas at no charge, though associated medical costs such as doctor visits could easily run into thousands of dollars each month, according to LaFountain.

From now through mid-March, 20 to 40 percent of all sales, depending upon the product, will be donated to the Friends of McKenzie Lowe fund, which assists the family with ongoing medical expenses.

Avon was founded in the late 1800s, when traveling book salesman David McConnell noticed that many of his women customers were home during the day while their husbands went off to work, leading him to begin recruiting female sales representatives.

Worldwide, the Avon company’s revenues totaled $10 billion in 2013, according to the company website.

Known for its philanthropic efforts, Avon’s Foundation for Women currently oversees several charitable campaigns, including the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer and Speak Out Against Domestic Violence. In fiscal year 2012, the Avon Corp. made a total of $1,181,085 in charitable gifts, contributions and grants, according to the company’s annual report.

The Avon Store is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information visit www.youravon.com/blevesque or contact Levesque at Avon4u32@gmail.com or 578-1920.

aguilmet@newstote.com



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