It’s only when you go through something like this that you realise what help and support there is or isn’t available. In this case it became apparent when salon owner Joe Milazzo and his wife Lina, who was undergoing treatment herself for breast cancer chatted to women in the hospital waiting rooms awaiting their next course of treatment. They realised that many were 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 and uncomfortable about going to their usual salon and be seen by their stylist or other familiar clients.
As a husband and hair stylist who is passionate about hair and making clients look and feel great about themselves, Joe realised there wasn’t adequate hair care support for people going through this already traumatic time and felt something needed to be done.
Joe recalls, "I saw how positive and excited my wife Lina was about her hair growing back, the hairstyles we chose, the fact that new people we met on holiday had no idea that she hadn’t chosen to cut her hair into a chic crop but that she’d grown it into a chic crop."
Both Joe and Lina felt others going through cancer chemotherapy treatment should also be able to feel like this.
Once Lina was on the road to recovery Joe approached the MacMillan Cancer Support team at St. George’s Hospital, Tooting, 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 the salon. This was purely a service to get them back on track with their hair and regain their confidence and self-esteem. They were salon guests on their journey to recovery.
After seeing the positive impact this service had, Joe decided to create an official programme, HAIR REBORN - a 4 step programme tailored to suit guests and simple for other salons to adopt and offer in their local community, as he felt more needed to be done and believed other hairdressers would support this cause.
"Most women said they felt reborn, just as Lina had said when she braved that first new look. This is what inspired Joe to pursue this project and set up the charity, HAIR REBORN."
For further details about the service please visit our What We Provide page.