TGIN founder Chris-Tia Donaldson passes away from breast cancer. The beauty entrepreneur and author founded the natural hair brand, Thank God It’s Natural. She died on November 13th and was only 42 years old. Donaldson was a pioneer in her industry and respected by peers and competitors.
TGIN’s Finance and HR Manager, Aris Singleton, confirmed her aunt’s passing on the official Instagram page. Aris wore the brand’s signature pink to honor her late aunt. She explained how she plans to continue Donaldson’s legacy.
It is with great sadness that we announce the peaceful passing of our founder and CEO Chris-Tia Donaldson on the evening of Saturday, November 13. TGIN and the TGIN foundation has lost a leader and a visionary and the world has lost a selfless and beautiful human being. Chris-Tia lived a life of service and was a force to be reckoned with inside and outside of the beauty community. Through her passion and purpose she redefined beauty and created a community of women empowerment teaching us the importance of advocating for ourselves especially our health,” said Singleton. “The entire TGIN family mourns the tremendous loss. No words can adequately express that sadness or the love we have for her.
Donaldson founded TGIN in 2015. Featured in several national publications, including Marie Claire, Essence, Black Enterprise, Ebony, the Chicago Tribune, and more. Her book “Thank God I’m Natural: The Ultimate Guide to Catering for Natural Hair” was a number 1 bestseller on Amazon. Essence Magazine referred to it as the “Natural Hair Bible.”
At the age of 36, Donaldson discovered an abnormality in her breast. “I was actually taking a shower and noticed it then. Initially, I thought it was hormonal-related. I had a cyst removed from my breast in my 20s,” she said in a Facebook Live interview. “Given my age and the fact that I felt perfectly healthy, breast cancer was the furthest thing from my mind. After two to three months passed, I made an appointment to see my doctor,” she further explains.
Donaldson explained to her doctors that she couldn’t start chemotherapy right away because she was in the middle of significant brand opportunities for TGIN. Therefore, she wanted and needed to look suitable for those meetings. As a result, Donaldson went through an aggressive treatment course. She experienced a lumpectomy, eight rounds of chemotherapy, and 33 rounds of radiation. As a result, she lost her hair which was difficult since her brand was haircare.
Donaldson used her platform to advocate for breast health and bring awareness to the economic disparities in treatment. She learned that finances made a vast difference between living and dying. And unfortunately, a lot of patients could not afford advanced treatment options. Donaldson also learned about organizations that support women with essential things after receiving a diagnosis – transportation, child care, parking, and navigating disability leave from their place of employment. And she advocated for them while undergoing treatment herself.
Before she passed, she wrote a second book, “This Is Only a Test: What Breast Cancer Taught Me About Faith, Love, Hair, and Business.” Again, she shared her breast cancer diagnosis journey at a young age despite no family history of the disease.
BHM sends our condolences to her family and TGIN team during this challenging time.