October is breast cancer awareness month, and we thank you for sharing your personal stories about how breast cancer has affected your lives. We are inspired by the brave stories of strength and support. Flip through to read the beautifully moving stories. [pagebreak]
This is one of my clients, Tiffany Baumann-Cantelupe. She is a former Miss Ohio. Beautiful girl, beautiful hair, amazing. Well, she called me one day and started crying right away and said, "I was just diagnosed with breast cancer and the doctors said I will definitely loose my hair when I go through chemo." She asked me if I would cut it when she started chemo because she didn't want to see it fall down the drain. I asked if she was sure she would lose it because sometimes people don't. She said yes because she was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of breast cancer and they were going to be aggressive with treatment. I, of course, said I would do anything she needed. She asked if she could bring some friends and family up to the salon and I said she could bring as many people as she wanted.
We decided on a Friday evening after the salon was closed, so it would be private for her and her friends/family. So many people showed up that night and brought food, wine, gifts, etc...it was amazing. When she was ready for me to cut it, I told her I would separate it into ponytails and cut them. Then I asked how she wanted me to cut her hair after that and she looked at me and said just buzz it off. I honestly wasn't expecting to do that. I draped her, put the ponytails in, cut them and handed her the hair. Then I reached for my clippers...ugh, I had butterflies in my stomach and started having anxiety. I let her little boy put his hand on mine to help as I "buzzed" it. Tiffany wanted him to feel part of the process. When I was done I took her cape off and she looked beautiful. Everyone started clapping and began to hug her. I walked toward my girls, Mandi and Jamie, and I completely lost it. I could not stop crying.
Realizing what I just did and why I had to do it was just overwhelming. Tiffany is two years younger than me with two children! I just couldn't wrap my head around it. Anyone could have buzzed her head--the fact that she asked me to do something so personal and painful was so humbling. I've been doing hair for over 10 years and this is the first time I was in this situation --one I will never forget. I truly realized the impact that stylists can have on people's lives...it's simply amazing. -DJ Victory
I have been doing hair for over 20 years. I was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma in 2010. I own a salon in Poplar Grove, Illinois, Salon La "T" Da. I went from working 60 hours a week, to working 6 hours a week!
Let me tell you how I found my breast cancer....I had a girl come in to wait with her mother while I did her mom's highlights. After awhile of "girl talk" the mom mentions to me that her daughter had a lump removed from her breast, she's only 15! Thank god, it was benign! She found a lump during a self exam. I asked her "what did the lump feel like?" She told me "like a round bouncy ball." The next day in the shower I thought I'd do a "self exam" and BAM I felt a "round bouncy ball"! That then led to my diagnoses of Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. I thank God my clients are comfortable to share such personal things with me because she saved my life! God bless our clients
This is a picture of me, working on a day I was feeling good. Its a hard thing to be a bald hairstylist. I'm doing well now and love being able to work full time again. -Audra Marie Tucker [pagebreak]
Stylist Alyse Rico shares: