Girls heading out to a beauty salon is hardly unusual but when the girls in the salon chair are battling cancer or other serious illness, the salon date becomes an exciting event anticipated weeks in advance. On June 28, 40 such girls and their sisters traded the isolation of living with illness when they were invited for extreme pampering at Chai Lifeline West Coast’s “Beauty Makeover and Arts and Crafts Party.”
Chai Lifeline West Coast is the regional branch of the acclaimed international health service organization that provides emotional, social and financial support to families coping with the short and long-term repercussions of life-threatening and lifelong pediatric illness.
In the sixteen years since the Chai Lifeline West Coast office opened, the Los Angeles-based region has enabled the families of thousands of children to find joy and hope as they fight the devastating emotional, social, and financial tolls of serious pediatric illness.
Sponsored by the Fischer Family Fund, Beauty Day attracted girls from all corners of Los Angeles and Orange Counties. Mona Mostadim, owner of The Wig Fairy in Los Angeles, opened up her charming salon for the event. With Mona and her expert staff, the girls had their hair fashioned in every which way from French braids to sleek, ironed styles.
When it came to nails, blues and bright colors proved to be the most popular nail adornment. While they were being pampered, the girls were able to bond with one another, relating their feelings and experiences surrounding their illness. As they developed and strengthened supportive friendships with one another, their mothers did the same, trading stories, advice, and support.
Serious illness, and the medical treatment needed to cure or contain it, exacts a heavy toll on a girl’s self-image as much as on her physical health,” explained Randi Grossman, MPH, director of Chai Lifeline West Coast. “A day of focusing on hair and nails, things that other girls take for granted, gives them a chance to begin to think of themselves in positive terms once again.”
Beth* , whose eight-year-old daughter battles a rare and debilitating illness said, “My daughter couldn’t sleep last night she was so excited about Beauty Day. Watching her today, laughing and smiling, and feeling like a princess brings tears to my eyes.”
This day is special for the siblings of sick children, too. It gives them the chance to have some fun, spend some rare time focusing on themselves, and bond with others who understand their experiences. “With a brother who has cancer, my daughter is sometimes resentful of the attention he gets,” observed Rachel. “Beauty Day is all about her; it’s a day where she can shine and bond with other girls who share similar experiences.”
*Names have been changed to protect client privacy.
For more information about Beauty Day or Chai Lifeline West Coast’s other programs contact Randi Grossman at Chai Lifeline West Coast, Sohacheski Family Center at 310 274-6331 or 877 374-6331 or email Rgrossman@chailifeline.org. On the West Coast, the Sohacheski Family Center offers over two-dozen year-round, free programs and services to children, their families and communities. For more information about becoming a Chai Lifeline volunteer or donor, or for assistance, contact the Sohacheski Family Center at 310 274-6331.