This married couple of eight years is bringing their two seemingly unlikely professions together: makeup artists and police officers, all to help those battling cancer.
Bronx-based makeup artist Zuleika Veira and her husband Charlie Viera, a detective in the NYPD's highway patrol, organized "Beauty Against Cancer," an annual event the couple hosts to make cancer survivors feel comfortable in their changing bodies.
"I know the self-esteem goes down a lot, and so we wanted to help the women and men to help them look better and feel better," Zuleika says.
A struggle the Vieras know all too well. Both have had family members and friends diagnosed with the disease. That is why they started the event two years ago out of Zuleika's Bronx makeup studio.
"I have two aunts that are cancer survivors. I know that when they had a double mastectomy, how they felt. They wouldn't look at the mirror. I knew putting makeup on would make them feel better," Zuleika says.
But the idea to join forces with the Police Department came after Zuleika did a makeover for one of Charlie's colleagues fighting brain cancer. So while she deployed her army of makeup artists, he got the men and women in blue to do their part in giving back to the cancer community. Many donated their hair to the organization Children With Hair Loss.
"In the beginning, it was just my wife and I doing everything, the setup, organizing, getting the people. So it was a lot of work," Charlie says. "But now it is a little easier because we can get more people involved and more people to participate."
This year's event is their largest ever, with more than 300 first responders and New Yorkers battling the disease coming to police headquarters for a few beauty tips.
"Once they know all these tools, they can feel a little bit more like themselves, how they used to be before the sickness came about in their life," Charlie says.
But most of all, the Vieras want Beauty Against Cancer to be about surrounding survivors with a supportive community. No matter your profession, age or diagnosis, they want to survivors to know that they are not alone.
"We are all going through the same struggle here," Zuleika said.
So, for bringing the crime-fighting and cancer-fighting communities together, Zuleika and Charlie Veria are our New Yorkers Of The Week.