After battling breast cancer for several years, Chicago-born entrepreneur Chris-Tia Donaldson has passed away at age 42, Fox 32 reported. Known professionally as the founder and CEO of the popular natural hair care brand TGIN (Thank God It’s Natural), Donaldson is also remembered as an advocate for breast cancer awareness and treatment.
The news of Donaldson’s death was confirmed on her Instagram page in a video uploaded by her niece, who also works at TGIN as a finance and human resources manager. Revealing that the beauty mogul “peacefully passed” this past Saturday, Nov. 13, she shared in the clip, “TGIN and the TGIN foundation has lost a leader and a visionary. And the world has lost a selfless, beautiful human being.”
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After being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015, Donaldson wrote a book about her experience and struggle with the disease titled This is Only a Test: What Breast Cancer Taught me about Faith, Love, Hair and Business, with a percentage of sales donated to offer free mammograms to communities in need.
She also started the TGIN Foundation, which aims to help women without insurance receive treatment for breast cancer. According to the official website, they also seek to “highlight the impact of health disparities on survivor outcomes, and stress the importance of early detection for women under the age of 40.”
In an interview with Fly, Female & Fabolous, she revealed that her passion for natural hair care is what ultimately led to the launch of TGIN, saying, “I became interested in natural hair care back in 2002 when there were very few products on the market designed for kinky, curly and wavy textures. This was before YouTube, Facebook and Instagram, so there wasn’t really a lot of information on the topic.”
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“As a result, I decided to write a book to help dispel some of the most common myths and misconceptions associated with this hair texture. At the same time, I always had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to launch my own product line because very few products on the market actually catered to dry natural hair, and some of the prices were just outrageous,” Donaldson continued.
“So I wanted to come out with a line of products that were not only reasonably priced but delivered on performance and left the wearer with softer, moisturized and more manageable curls.”
A graduate of Harvard University and Harvard Law School, Donaldson undoubtedly used her economics degree and business-savvy background to aid her in starting her natural hair care line. Today, TGIN products are sold in stores across the nation, including Target, Walgreens, Wal-Mart, Sally’s Beauty Supply and more.