While community service is an integral component of a student's time at Marquette, freshman Katharina Gottschlich's entrepreneurial spirit is helping her shine in the spotlight.
Gottschlich will get a head start on Thanksgiving Break when she makes her debut in the 2020 Miss Indiana Teen USA Pageant beginning this Saturday at The Grand Wayne Convention Center in Fort Wayne.
Though she began modeling at a young age, this weekend's pageant represents a new endeavor that carries with it raw emotions.
"I'm nervous and excited at the same time. Of course, I want to win, but ultimately, my goal is to do the best I can," Gottschlich said Wednesday.
Gottschlich didn't have to leave home to find inspiration for her platform.
A year and a half ago, her mother, Marie, was diagnosed with breast cancer. She underwent chemotherapy at Cancer Health Treatment Centers in Crown Point and, fortunately, has made a full recovery. Still, her episode serves a somber reminder that breast cancer is a 365-day battle, and that awareness needs to occur not just during the month of October.
"I watched her go through it (treatment) and decided I want to help those in need," Katharina recalls.
From there, "Hearts of Breast Cancer" was born.
Gottschlich hand-sews heart-shaped pillows for chemotherapy patients who have endured a mastectomy. When placed under the arm of the affected side, it relieves pressure and provides comfort to patients while sleeping, sitting, or traveling by car. Gottschlich estimates each pillow takes about 30 minutes to complete and she's already made over 60.
She plans on donating the pillows to local hospitals with Cancer Health Treatment Centers at the top of the list. After all, Marie's fight has helped form the backbone of Hearts of Breast Cancer.
"She's inspiring and helps me get through things because she's so strong," Katharina said.
Interested in helping Hearts of Breast Cancer? Marquette will accept donations of old fabric on Katharina's behalf.