There are 5 generations of hairdressers in my family. Lucinda was the first and opened a salon in NGS in 1879. While proud of the tradition, I swore I would never be a hairdresser or work for myself. I got it half right!
When my mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 1989, I was 21 and she was 47 and it was a huge shock. I was in college studying Social Science and Maura was working as a beautician alongside my hairdresser Dad in their salon in Kimmage. Having starting fitting wigs only few years previously, he found himself in the difficult position of fitting my mother for a wig.
Maura did many things to support herself during treatment and I found myself fascinated by some of the books she was reading and the new habits she was adopting like juicing and visualisation. My mam is very modest but a very inspirational and courageous lady that took cancer on and beat it. See Mauras story. I went on to do my masters thesis on the experience of cancer patients under-going treatment and to attend conferences and courses on complementary approaches.
After 2 years of intense treatment, she got the all clear and she decided she had more to offer people going through cancer treatment, which she found very rewarding and they set up a dedicated wig centre to cater specifically for people with hair loss due to chemotherapy, alopecia or natural hair thinning. I got into research and life went on. Then in 1998 at 30, I was diagnosed with a malignant melanoma on my leg and life changed course again. I think cancer can be a wake up call. it certainly is a call to attention where you do question who you are and what you are doing?
I became interested in health and well being again and went to work fitting wigs as a stop gap to see what direction I wanted to take. The rest is history. I got hooked. I found it incredibly rewarding to be able to meet a person during a really tough time and to be able to offer them something that made them feel they could get through their treatment without having to be self conscious about their appearance.
I have learned so much from the people I have met and fitted over the past 10 years. I am privileged to meet strong courageous inspirational women who never cease to amaze me and always give me perspective.