HAIR REBORN appointed salons provide a free hair care service to people in their community suffering hair loss as a result of cancer chemotherapy treatment.
The programme is completely free and the salon/stylists volunteer their time to carry out the service.
Prompted by my wife’s own journey through breast cancer in 2014 I embarked upon this project after encountering many women struggling with the physical and mental effects of losing their hair, not knowing how to look after their hair as it was falling out or as it was growing back. They felt embarrassed & uncomfortable to go to their usual salon and be seen like this by their stylist or other familiar clients who were having their regular hair appointments.
Discovering there was no real hair care support for people going through this already traumatic time prompted me, as a passionate hairdresser, to help and therefore approached our local Cancer Unit at St. George’s Hospital, Tooting and the Macmillan team and offered patients struggling with hair loss a free consultation, giving them support, advice and a series of free haircuts to get their hair to a healthy, manageable style with no obligation to remain with our salon. This was purely a service to get them back on track with their hair and regain their confidence. They were our guests on their journey to recovery.
After seeing the positive impact this service had, I decided to create an official programme, HAIR REBORN - a 4 step programme tailored to suit our guests and simple for other salons to adopt and offer in their local community, as I believed our industry should be doing more to support people suffering hair loss as a result of cancer treatment.
We have to date appointed 13 HAIR REBORN partner salons around the country, to support those in other communities as they embark on their recovery journey following cancer treatment and hope to grow this throughout the UK by driving awareness, in partnership with the hospitals and cancer support centres in each community. All appointed salons are personally trained by me and another member of the HAIR REBORN Trustee team and operate under an official agreement to ensure all HAIR REBORN guests benefit from a consistent and positive experience. To date, I have personally looked after just over 70 women and approximately 30 by the appointed salons.
The programme consists of:
Step 1 – RE-ASSURE an initial telephone consultation, giving advice, support and registering the guest to signpost to an appointed salon.
Step 2 - Re-Style - this would be the first salon visit in the programme to tidy the hair at least 8 weeks after chemo has ended in order to prepare for the new hairstyle.
Step 3 - Re-Start - this appointment would be 8-12 weeks after the end of treatment or from Step 2 when the hair has grown sufficiently, to trim and shape the new hair to get the new style underway.
Step 4 - Re-Born – this would be the final appointment in the programme, again approximately 8-12 weeks after the Step 3 appointment, leaving the guest with their new manageable hairstyle. The stylist will give advice and tips on managing their new hair, ongoing hair care, colouring advice etc. At this final appointment the guest is given a feedback form to complete in order to monitor and make any improvements to the programme.
Our leaflets and website give people our dedicated HAIR REBORN telephone number. Our helpline provides support and advice before, during and after treatment.
People can call at any point after hearing about the programme normally through the hospital nurses, cancer support centres, word of mouth. They may have just been told about chemotherapy and know they might lose their hair and need advice and support, be going through treatment, or may have finished treatment. If they call us early in their hair loss and recovery journey, they would benefit from all 4 steps but if they call later in the journey, they may only receive the relevant steps.
We pride ourselves on seeing the transformation in each and every HAIR REBORN guest that undertakes the programme, watching their confidence grow back in line with their hair, their heads begin to lift higher and smiles grow broader and the knowledge that we are helping to change industry attitudes, services and community support for the better by using our everyday skills and passion to make a genuine difference to those struggling within our communities. I am passionate about getting this message across and enlisting the support of other salons to provide this much needed care. Something very positive has come from a very challenging personal experience. Being able to give back to the community has helped us to recover and I am proud that we have been able to create HAIR REBORN, which has recently been given charity status and ultimately grow to support many more people around the UK.
Registered Charity No: 1185832
Further details of the programme and our personal stories are on our website: www.hairreborn.org