Chicago moms get early Mother's Day surprise

CHICAGO, Illinois -- "Oh my god," gasped Earlene Harris, as she saw her reflection in a mirror. Harris received a full makeover by makeup artist Tanya Miller-a brand new experience for the mother of two.

"I'm trying not to cry," Harris said with a smile.

But Harris's pampering didn't stop there. She walked away with a new dress, shoes to match, and a professional headshot in her new outfit. She's just one of 150 Chicago moms given a special thank you on Monday.

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More than 150 moms were treated to free makeovers on Monday.

"We wanted to celebrate moms that aren't necessarily celebrated," explains Julie Hightower, executive board member of the Daisie Foundation.

Her organization partnered with the USO and other Chicago community groups to thank some of those most in need, including military families and cancer survivors.

"Many of them have experienced so many different adversities but they have triumphed, and we wanted to celebrate them," Hightower added.

With a smile that wouldn't quit, she brought together 50 hair stylists and makeup artists, turning a downtown loft into a pop-up salon-a busy one at that.

"A lot of women don't realize how beautiful they can be. A little bit of makeup can take a woman to a different place," explained makeup artist Tanya Miller, who loves giving back with Hightower.

The party didn't stop at the makeup table or with the hair styling either.

Thanks to partners Lane Bryant and Eliza J, the guests were able to take home dresses-something they didn't expect.

"It's pretty fun to see their faces," said Hightower after surprising Harris with the news.

This shopping spree does not come cheap.

"Hundreds of thousands of dollars when you add it all up," estimated Hightower.

But everything was donated, including the labor from an army of volunteers like photographer Sonya Martin.

"It makes everyone feel good, so it makes me feel good in turn," she said in between photoshoots.

Martin's pictures give these women a professional headshot to help them network, and a lasting thank you for just being mom.
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