In late fall of 2017 our team was faced with a situation brand new to us. Our 11-year-old client Vara had relapsed with cancer. In the year prior Vara had been diagnosed, treated and beat Wilm’s tumor, better known as childhood kidney cancer. A scan revealed the tumor had metastasized in her lung six months after treatment. We were crushed. After cheering her on through her first round, we wanted to do better through her second round. We decided as a team that raising money for Vara and her family was going to be our focus while she was in treatment for a second time. We first hosted denim days on the weekends and allowed team members to wear jeans if they donated money to Vara’s family. We invited our clients to join us in donating by placing a fish bowl at our front desk that they could contribute money to. We also hosted a chili cook off on a Saturday and marketed it throughout the salon in the weeks leading up to it. Team members signed up to make a chili for the contest. On the day of the contest we sold tasting cups to clients for a donation to Vara’s family and had them vote for a winner. Vara, her mother and grandmother all came to make a special appearance and cast their votes for their favorite!!! At the end of the day our winner received bragging rights, and we had raised over $300 to give to Vara.
As the holidays were nearing we wanted to do something special for Vara. Her mother had told us she had really taken an interest in make-up. She enjoyed doing her own make-up during her in patient treatments to pass the time. She also followed many make-up artists on social media platforms and loved learning new things from them. We took the opportunity to do a team only fundraiser to build her a make-up collection. Members of our team could either go out and shop for make-up to gift her or donate money to be used to purchase make-up for her. We scheduled a time with Vara’s mother, Emily, that we could surprise Vara with the gifts and bring a long a senior make-up artist, Paige, to do a one on one make-up lesson with her. This was a Christmas to remember for Vara! On a snowy Sunday morning we showed up at her house with gift bags full of any kind of make-up you could imagine and spent hours opening it all up with Vara. It was such a gift to us to watch her marvel in all of the gifts and enjoy her make-up lesson with Paige. We even learned a few things, too! In the following months, every time Vara would stop in the salon she would show off her latest look to us and tell us how much she loved all of her items. We possibly have our salon’s next make-up artist in training!
In the spring of 2018 Vara completed her second round of treatment and has beat Wilm’s tumor for a second time. Even though Vara and her family no longer need our help beating cancer there are countless families out there who do. In honor of Vara and in support of her pediatric oncologist, Dr. Carl Koschmann, we have taken the opportunity to donate current denim day donations and other fundraising monies to Block Out Cancer, C.S. Mott Children’s Hospitals effort to raise money for pediatric cancer research.
We are currently hosting denim days on Saturday’s each home UofM football game. All of the money donated will be going to helping families in our local community with everyday purchases. The financial burden families face on top of treating their loved is astronomical. Any and all donations help!