By the age of 45, Quynh Chau Stone has seen more adversity than one could ever imagine. After being orphaned twice, having come to America not knowing English, and losing two businesses, Stone has managed to pick herself back up and remain optimistic of the American dream. Using what she has learned throughout the trials and tribulations of her life, Stone has made it her mission to educate and give back to underserved communities.
“My mother had a stroke when she was pregnant with me and could not care for me,” Stone recalls. “She brought me in a basket to this elderly couple. She said ‘Can you hold on to this baby, and I’ll come back for her?’ She never came back for me.”
As an infant, Stone had a skin disease, leaving her partially blind throughout the early parts of her life.
By the age of seven, Stone was working as a maid in a salon. During the Vietnam war, all kinds of cultures assimilated and integrated with the Vietnamese population. Because of this, Stone learned how to style hair of people of different races and backgrounds. By the age of 13, she was a master in her craft.
She was living in Ho Chi Minh City at the time when her four brothers managed to locate and find her. They wanted to take her to American to be with her biological father.
“They told my grandmother that they wanted a better life for me,” Stone recalls. “They built a tiny boat so we could escape out of Vietnam.”
Stone and her four brothers then set sail. For 13 days, they embarked on a journey, not having any food or water on hand. They eventually landed on a Malaysian island, where Stone had to learn U.S. immigration laws.
“My brothers were sponsored by my father, but I wasn’t, because they couldn’t find me when I was a child,” Stone says. “We had to stay [on the island] for almost 18 months.”
Eventually, Stone found sponsors and the five made their way to the U.S. By October of 1989, they arrived to Blytheville, Arkansas. Stone was reunited with her father, however, due to being an American soldier in the Vietnam war, her father suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. Stone describes her relationship with her father as abusive, leading her to eventually decide to live in the foster system.
“It was really, really sad for me,” Stone says. “I’m here on new land, don’t speak a word of English, don’t know anybody, and now, seven months later, I’m in the foster system.”
During her time in foster care, Stone recalls three “American angels” expressing interest in adopting her.
“I said, ‘Well, instead of adopting me, can you share with me a place far, far away from here and let me start my life over again?,’” Stone recalls. “This time, I’m already about 16 years old. So I’m already an adult. I knew exactly what I needed to do for my life.”
Stone then made her way to Arkansas Baptist Children’s Home in Monticello, Arkansas. This time, she was orphaned by choice. She spent her days reading the dictionary for hours at a time to teach herself English. She credits her house-mother, a woman named Dolores Grisham, for teaching her U.S. history and helping prepare her for university.
She studied at University of Arkansas at Monticello, where she met Wesley Stone, the man she would eventually marry. She had gone on a date with him on a Wednesday afternoon. By Thursday, he asked her to marry him. They married six months later and have since been together for 25 years.
The two started a skincare and beauty business together, which proved lucrative, however, after their oldest daughter was diagnosed with a brain tumor, the bills and costs of treatment took a toll on them financially.
“We lost everything,” Stone recalls. “We were literally living in the salon at that time.”
At one point, Stone remembers a visit to a doctor, in which she was told to be prepared for the worst.
“They told us to go ahead and hold her, because she only had 72 hours to live,” Stone recalls. “That’s when a doctor came by. He said, ‘Hey, you might not know who I am, but when you were at the Arkansas Baptist Children’s Home, my mother was your sponsor. I’m going to operate on your daughter’s brain.’ He operated on her on Thursday and she was out by Saturday. Through God’s grace, she was alive and we rebuilt our lives.”
The husband-wife duo was able to relaunch their business, however, everything came crashing down once again after they had sent one of their products to Canada with a missing ingredient.
After losing everything, once again, Stone still wanted to give back to others. Using the skills she had acquired from her decades in the beauty industry, she rebuilt her spirits by giving makeovers to people.
“You don’t have to have money to make a difference in people’s lives,” Stone says.
Once she and her husband were able to save some money, they launched The Source of Hope in Grand Prairie. Since launching in 2011, The Source of Hope has provided thousands of people with homecooked meals, as well as beauty and aesthetic services.
The Source of Hope provides vocational training for people wanting to work in the beauty industry. In the Source of Hope clinic, nurses, doctors and beauty professionals come in voluntarily to provide services to cancer patients. Such services include areola restoration, mole removal and providing wigs for patients undergoing chemotherapy.
Additionally, The Source of Hope, which is now headquartered in Plano, also works to prepare healthy homecooked meals to underprivileged families, as well as the Douglass Community Center in Plano, Boys and Girls Club and over 50 non-profit organizations.
Every fourth Friday and Saturday of the month, Stone encourages volunteers to come to Cornerstone Community Kitchen in Dallas to help prepare meals. She hopes to provide all of The Source of Hopes’ volunteers with the skills necessary to cook for themselves, as well as provide for others.
Despite having been through her fair share of hardship, Stone remains faithful and hopeful for the future.
“I was orphaned twice,” Stone says. “I lost everything twice. But yet, I’m living the American dream. I have my sweetheart next to me. I have two beautiful, healthy children. I have an organization and I have an amazing community, with 3000 volunteers who work alongside us. Together, we all are the source of hope.”
To learn how to get involved with The Source of Hope, visit thesourceofhope.org