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Makeup Artist and Cancer Survivor Gives Back to Nurses

In 2023, Tim Quinn and his colleagues in the beauty industry provided another day of makeovers and “full glam” to Mass General Cancer Center nurses.

Donor Story

Makeup Artist and Cancer Survivor Gives Back to Nurses

When celebrity makeup artist Tim Quinn was treated for testicular cancer at Massachusetts General Hospital, he found himself relying on the nurses who cared for him to help him navigate his diagnosis and treatment. For the 10th year, Tim is bringing fellow makeup artists to Mass General Cancer Center to provide makeovers and professional makeup products to nursing staff, his unique way of giving back.

Marie Walton
April 30, 2024

In 2007, Tim Quinn found himself in the back of a van on the way to Massachusetts General Hospital, unable to walk or sit. Dealing with excruciating leg pain that had been deemed sciatica, Tim and his loved ones suspected that something more serious was going on. At Mass General, Tim was diagnosed with testicular cancer, launching him into an arduous treatment process and the world of cancer care.

A makeup artist working with notables like first lady Jill Biden, Farrah Fawcett and Megan Fox, and cofounder of the skincare company Halo42, Tim has always valued beauty and believes that looking your best empowers you to feel your best and that beautiful spaces can be healing. As a patient at Mass General Cancer Center, he brought décor from home to make his hospital room feel more comfortable, applied self-tanner in the bathroom to help him feel like himself even while sick, and extended his makeup artistry services to his fellow patients.

A Beautiful Gesture

Undergoing chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery, Tim credits the nurses who cared for him during his battle with cancer as his biggest support. “Every time one of my nurses came to check in, it was like a bright light entering the room,” Tim says. “They were so kind and understanding no matter what was going on, and were there for me through every step of treatment.” In searching for a way to thank his oncology nurses for the impact they had on him, Tim decided to use his skillset and connections in the beauty industry to offer a day of makeovers and “full glam” to Mass General Cancer Center nurses.

This May, for the 10th year, Tim and many members of his beauty community will provide makeup application, hair styling and Armani Beauty products to Mass General Cancer Center nurses and advanced practice providers, providing a moment for the folks who dedicate their lives to caring for others to be doted on themselves. The very nurses who cared for Tim 16 years ago still come to the event, where Tim and his team recreate the environment found backstage at a fashion show, making them feel as cared for and important as they make their patients feel every day.

“Our oncology nurses look forward to Tim Quinn’s appreciation event every year,” says Erika M. Rosato, DNP, MHA, RN, OCN, NE-BC, Associate Chief Nurse, Mass General Cancer Center. “Tim and his team do an outstanding job of making the nurses feel appreciated and beautiful. We have been lucky to have Tim and his team pamper us for the last 10 years.”

Tim advises nurses from Mass General Cancer Center on skincare and makeup application.

Raising Awareness

Not only is this annual event a way to thank oncology nurses; it’s also a way for Tim to share the world of cancer care and research, and specifically his love for Mass General, with his friends in the makeup industry. “Before my diagnosis, I knew nothing about the cancer world. This day is a way for me to share my experience with my community, and to introduce them to this institution I am so grateful to and passionate about supporting.”

Tim is also dedicated to opening up the conversation around testicular cancer for other men. He speaks to the way that he has seen women support each other, especially among patients with cancer and nurses, and he strives to bring that camaraderie and compassion to men battling cancer. “In my experience, men often don’t feel comfortable opening up to each other, especially about things deemed ‘taboo’ like testicular and anal cancer,” he says. “I’ve learned so much from oncology nurses and fellow patients with cancer about the importance of unconditional support and community. It’s important to me to open up this conversation, to remove the stigma and normalize being open and honest with each other.”

Tim plans to continue to advocate for patients with cancer, and to build on his nursing appreciation efforts, expanding the event each year. “My absolute dream would be to open a shop at the hospital, a place for patients to come in and be beautified, to feel normal for a moment. There can be so much healing power in looking your best.”

To learn more about how you can support Mass General Cancer Center nursing, please contact us.