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GO! for the Gold: Honoring a Northeast Ohio hairstylist who goes above and beyond

Despite personal and professional challenges, Karen Kraus always stays positive and focuses on helping others.

CLEVELAND — Sometimes you meet people who forever touch your lives. I knew when I first met Karen Kraus that she was special. Karen is my hairstylist, and she's also become a great friend.

You know what they say, hairstylists are almost like therapists. Karen is that and so much more -- not just for me, but for all of her clients. She goes above and beyond to make sure to keep everyone safe and cared for. I leave her salon and I always feel really pretty. I always say she puts me back together. It's like, I'm Humpty Dumpty.

During the pandemic when safety was a concern, Karen went above and beyond -- making house calls and implementing safety protocols to keep clients healthy.

Credit: Hollie Strano
Hollie Strano and Karen Kraus.

And despite the challenges she faced as a business owner this last year, Karen also always found a way to stay positive.

"We all have our depressed days or whatnot, but you just kind of rally through it kind of thing," Karen told me. "Or take your minute and fall apart, and then as you know, you pick yourself back up, cry it out of your system and you just go back at it."

Credit: Hollie Strano
Hollie and Karen pictured in Karen's Studio K Salon, during the pandemic.

It’s an example she sets caring for her own elderly parents and for her grandchildren. You may remember, I first shared that Karen tragically lost her 38-year-old daughter, Vera, in our Secret Recipe series two years ago.

"You’re never prepared to lose your child, that’s not supposed to happen," Karen said at the time.

RELATED: Karen's daughter passed away after a battle with mental illness. Now she's sharing her family's story in hopes it will help save others: Secret Recipe

But still, Karen continues to look forward and to find the light.

"The school of hard knocks kinda got me here," she said, "and not being afraid to hold my nose and jump in. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't [but] the friends I have around me and my family and my loved ones just inspire me."

And Karen inspires me – she also finds time to give back, through the Night to Shine organization helping kids with special needs have the prom night of their dreams.

Credit: Karen Kraus
Karen Kraus and Night to Shine participants.

"That is such a treat, that's an honor," she told me of her involvement with the organization.

But now it’s Karen's turn to be honored with a special GO! for the Gold picture frame to represent her gold medal spirit during one very tough year.