JD Michel Salon and the Rapunzel Project: Helping Cancer Patients Keep Their Hair
More than 1.5 million new cancer cases were diagnosed in the United States in 2010, and about 8 percent of women and men decide not to have chemotherapy because they are afraid to lose their hair. JD Michel Salon of Fenton is doing something to change this statistic.
JD Michel Salon is partnering with Kenra Professional to raise money for The Rapunzel Project®, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping cancer patients keep their hair during chemotherapy. The Rapunzel Project’s mission to inform patients that they have an option utilizing cold cap therapy, a technology used overseas to prevent hair loss associated with chemotherapy.
“Keeping your hair while undergoing chemotherapy is not about vanity—it’s about identity,” explains Nancy Marshall,
co-founder of The Rapunzel Project. “Knowing she can keep her hair can help liberate a patient emotionally and physically from the ‘cancer patient’ label and improve self-image, dignity and morale—vital, yet often overlooked,
elements of overall wellness. Cold caps are not a cure for cancer, but they are an enormously powerful game changer for patients.”
In fact, The Rapunzel Project is very personal to its founders, Shirley Billigmeier and Nancy Marshall, because they are both breast cancer survivors. When Shirley learned that she needed to undergo chemotherapy to limit the chances of a cancer recurrence, she immediately set out to purchase a wig—anticipating the loss of her hair. In the process, she inadvertently heard about cold cap therapy. She began to investigate, and ultimately connected with Frank Fronda, the scientist who invented a cold cap that has been widely used in Europe for 15 years.
Cold cap therapy involves the use of special caps, frozen to a very cold temperature and worn before, during and after each chemotherapy treatment. The cooling of the hair follicles prevents chemotherapy toxins from reaching them, preserving the follicles and therefore preserving the patient’s hair.
When Shirley learned that it would be possible to rent the cold caps, she approached her oncologist, who was extremely supportive. The biggest obstacle was that the caps have to be used at -30° centigrade (-22° F), a temperature that normal freezers do not reach. Nancy recognized that this was a huge opportunity for Shirley and many chemotherapy patients. She started fundraising to purchase a suitable freezer. Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis allowed the donations go to its Foundation, which purchased the freezer for the hospital. Shirley wore the caps during her chemotherapy treatments and did not lose her hair! She and Nancy decided that they needed to
make more cancer patients, their physicians and hair stylists aware of this new technology. The Rapunzel Project was born.
“Cancer patients have a right to know they have an option,” says Shirley.
Cold cap therapy is available in Michigan through Beaumont
Hospital of Royal Oak and Botsford Cancer Center of Farmington Hills.
JD Michel will donate 20 percent of all Kenra retail sales during September and October, and on Thursday, October 18, JD Michel staff will donate their tips to the Rapunzel Project. Customers will be able to enter a raffle for a gift bag of over $40 in Kenra hair products plus a flat iron.
In 2010 Kenra Professional adopted The Rapunzel Project as its company charity and has committed to raising $250,000 on behalf of the Kenra Professional company team and salon partners.
About The Rapunzel Project®: The Rapunzel
Project® is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping chemotherapy patients keep their hair during treatment. To learn more, get involved or make a donation, visit http://www.rapunzelproject.org/.
Watch Shirley's story on Good Morning America:
About JD Michel Salon: www.jdmichelsalon.com
About Kenra Professional: Kenra Professional products create inner and outer beauty by giving women and men the trust and confidence to achieve their ultimate style. Kenra offers two collections under the Kenra® Classic and Kenra® Platinum brands—both available in top salons
across North America. Visit www.kenra.com for more information.