For Katrina Ruiz, the nightmare and the dream-come-true all happened at once. Just two weeks after her double mastectomy at age 30, Ruiz was notified that she won third place—$2,000—in the 2017 Hairdressers at Heart’s Wella Cares contest for her organization, the Beauty Cures Project. She’d launched Beauty Cares before she elected to have surgery after suffering with non-Hodgkins lymphoma and finding out that she carried the BRCA gene.
“Everyone at Salon Envy Us has been affected by cancer,” explains Ruiz, an independent stylist at Salon Envy Us in West Jordan, Utah. “I’ve seen first-hand what people go through. So I started making baskets, customizing wigs and doing microblading, all at no charge for cancer patients.” A cancer organization supplies some wigs, and others are donated from various sources. The Beauty Cures Project’s official mission statement is “to make patients and survivors cure the pain that cancer has on us mentally and emotionally.”
Ruiz says giving back makes her own health challenges a little easier to face. “My charity really helps me,” she says. “We try to make our clients feel as normal as possible while going to treatment. We also hold classes to help patients and their spouses and partners cope with the diagnosis.” Ruiz and a massage therapist friend were the only salon pros involved in Beauty Cures until the announcement of the third-place win brought inquiries from other professionals interested in joining the project. To spread the word further, Ruiz used the prize money to purchase marketing tools like fliers and business cards.
“We developed Hairdressers at Heart to honor the personal and professional commitment of stylists to their communities,” says Coty Senior Vice-President North America Professional Beauty and Global OPI Sal Mauceri. “The Wella Cares winners are great examples of the power of the beauty professional to make a difference in our world.” Visit hairdressersatheart.com for information on the 2018 Wella Cares Contest launching in March.
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