TYLER, Texas — One local hairstylist is reaching out to help cancer patients and survivors recapture their pre-cancer beauty.
Queen Divas Hair Salon's owner C.C. Foster is giving away free haircuts, makeovers, manicures, weaves and custom-made wigs at her shop's seventh annual, 24-hour Day of Glamorous Divas.
The free beauty day starts at 8 a.m. Feb. 19 at her salon on 102 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
"We want to show them that they are still beautiful," Ms. Foster, 34, said. "It's hard to be a woman when all your hair falls out."
The event grew from a personal tragedy after Ms. Foster's sister, Christie, lost her battle against cancer — aplastic anemia, which developed into leukemia — when she was 18 years old.
"She lost all her hair, her eyebrows, her eyelashes," Ms. Foster said. "It started falling out in big globs."
In addition to Christie's failing health, her confidence plummeted as well, Ms. Foster said.
Ms. Foster said she wants to help as many women and children as possible.
She makes children's wigs from virgin hair, which means it has not been chemically processed.
During the first year, Ms. Foster said she made about 20 wigs. Last year, the charity grew to reach about 60 women.
"A lot of people cut their hair and throw it away," Ms. Foster said. "It can be a blessing for someone who doesn't have any."
She takes photos of the women in their new wigs to send to the hair donors.
"As long as they take care of it, they can wear it forever," she said.
Several of the technicians at the salon are new to the event.
One of the salon technicians, Willett Williams, 34, said she is "expecting nothing but greatness" from The Day of Glamorous Divas.
"For us to expand and to reach people, not just through Glamorous Divas, but just reach people so they'll know they're beautiful inside and out," Ms. Williams said. "That feels good."
She said "it's a God thing" that she started working at Queen Divas Hair Salon in October.
"I have worked at other salons, at this particular time, I had just prayed and prayed to be sent to a place to show my skills and develop my talents and help other people," Ms. Williams said.
Back in June 2006, doctors diagnosed her with breast cancer.
She took on chemotherapy, radiation. She lost her hair, a lot of weight and a third of her right breast.
On Oct. 17, 2007, she began calling herself a survivor.
Although she was devastated when she was diagnosed, she said the experience made her a stronger woman, and she wants to share that to help others fight cancer.
"Anything that has ever been taken away from you or brought you through something is not for you, it's for somebody else," she said. "There is a way out and you can make it; here I am."
She said she lives by loving God and loving her neighbors.
"That doesn't mean you love your neighbor just because you know them," Ms. Williams said. "You should reach out."
Keidra Mitchell-Stanton, 20, and La'Mary Mack, 35, will also help with The Day of Glamorous Divas.
Ms. Mack said she is nervous about the all-nighter, but said she wants to help out and put smiles on people's faces.
Mrs. Mitchell-Stanton said she is eager.
"Some people didn't make it through cancer and they did," she said. "We're here to celebrate with them."
Reservations are not required to attend The Day of Glamorous Divas, Ms. Foster said. Any cancer patient or survivor of any nationality can simply show up at the salon, and enjoy the free makeovers and free refreshments.
Information from: Tyler Morning Telegraph, http://www.tylerpaper.com