MADISON & ZACH STROUP
A: Madison: I’ve been a hairstylist for five years. I currently work in Windsor, where I am from. I am an independent stylist who specializes in blonding services, and I’ve also added new services from continuous education.
Zach: I am a small business owner. I started NOCO Insurance Advisors in December 2022 and worked independently while I underwent chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. I help people find the right home, auto and life insurance when life has unexpected problems.
Q: Tell us about yourself, your history and how you came to be where you are now.
A: Madison: I am a sixth-generation Colorado native. Zach moved here when he was 11 years old. We both graduated from Windsor high school, where we met in 2015. We currently live in Eaton and run two small businesses. I graduated from Paul Mitchell cosmetology school in 2017 with multiple awards. Zach got into insurance in 2020 and opened his own business in 2022. We have been married for one year and share our cancer/recovery journey with others.
Ages: 25, 27
Occupations: Hairstylist (Madison), owner and founder of NOCO Insurance Advisors (Zach)
A: Madison: Our lives flipped upside down in the fall of 2020 when Zach was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He underwent multiple rounds of chemo and was going to school at the same time. We got engaged in the summer of 2021 while Zach was in remission. We both continued to work and eventually got married in the hospital when the cancer came back in his spinal cord. Zach was left partially paralyzed.
Q: What do you consider your biggest accomplishment, either professionally or personally?
A: Madison: Our biggest accomplishment would have to be keeping our businesses afloat while undergoing such a devastating time. We both worked full-time, and I drove to Denver every day to see Zach. He continued to work while facing all of his health challenges. We also help advocate for and educate young adults with cancer and other health issues.
Q: Where do you see yourself in five years? In 10 years?
A: Madison: In five years, we see ourselves owning our own salon in Northern Colorado. We also hope to join/start more nonprofits to help support young adults in their cancer journey. Our passion is to help others and bring awareness to our community.
Q: What piece(s) of advice would you give to your younger self?
A: Madison: Life has many aspects to it, so live each day to the fullest and with intention. Continue to make as many memories as possible and keep chasing your dreams because you have the strength to do it.
Q: What has it been like to have such a personal story be so public?
A: Madison: Our story is nothing short of a miracle, and we wanted to share our journey to educate and inspire others who are going through a difficult or life-threatening situation. We share our experiences to help young adults advocate for their health. When we initially posted our video on TikTok, I had downloaded the app that same day. I added photos and videos of our journey and never expected it to get so much attention. Now that we have a platform, we share the recovery process and what our day-to-day life is like. We want to give others hope.
Q: What kept your relationship strong during tough times? How did you keep up with normal life, including your businesses?
A: Madison: I believe a lot of our strength came from each other. There were days when I was stronger than Zach, and there were days when he was stronger than me. During such an uncertain time, we leaned on each other and our faith. When it came to our businesses and home life, we wanted to have normalcy in the midst of chaos. We tried every day to not lose everything we worked so hard for. Working and being around our community kept our minds off Zach’s health. We tried our best to control what we could in such an uncontrolled situation.