A Belmont graduate won a national makeover contest for charity, beating out over 22,000 other contestants.
Tara Patterson, 24, won the Grand Prize in Mary Kay's makeover contest, winning $5,000 toward a charity of her choice, as well as a $5,000 travel voucher for herself.
"My entry was, 'One woman can be transformed,' and I sort of talked a little bit about my story, and what Mercy Ministries meant to me and why I wanted that money to be given back to them," she explained.
Mercy Ministries is a free-of-charge, faith-based organization where young women can receive treatment for life-controlling issues such as eating disorders and drug addictions.
Patterson's entry read:
"A terrible eating disorder nearly took my life when I was 19. My doctor told me she planned to speak at my funeral. Today I am healthy, happy, about to graduate summa cum laude from college and engaged to the love of my life. I would donate this to the charity that saved me so they can continue to show young women they are beautiful and worthy of love."
She graduated from Mercy's program in 2008 and credits them for saving her life.
"I really don't think that I would be here today if it wasn't for Mercy Ministries," she said. "I would do anything for Mercy. I feel like I owe them a lot, so I was more than happy to go get my make-up done for them."
If Patterson had gone anywhere else, she would have paid upwards of $275,000 for treatment.
Mercy Ministries offers help for free.
The organization funds their programs through donations and fundraisers, and one of their biggest events is being held this weekend.
The Run for Mercy 5K and Family Walk is on Saturday at Shelby Bottom Park at 9 a.m. Click here to read more or to register for the event.