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A Cut Above

Author: Layan Barakat
Photographer: Anthony Sheardon
5 months ago
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Beauty meets heart, and styling goes beyond the surface at Salon Cure, a certified green circle salon located in the heart of Windsor.

Owner Christine Withington, who has served Windsor-Essex clients for two decades, reflects on her newly launched initiative – providing wigs to cancer patients free of charge.

With several years of experience in the hairdressing industry and cultivating close relationships in the community, Christine shared the journey of Salon Cure’s unique initiative. It all began when a client presented Christine with a dilemma – what to do with a collection of wigs discovered while cleaning out her late mother-in-law’s home.

“One of my clients was the head of Hospice; the next time she came in, I asked her if I was to clean the wigs up and offer a service where people could come in and have a nice clean wig that’s styled for them, and I would cut it so it would be suited for them – would that be something that Hospice would support?” said Christine. Her question was answered with an enthusiastic yes, “From there, I contacted the client and told her I’d take the wigs. I started by cleaning them then cataloging them”.

What started with a few wigs quickly snowballed into a collection of dozens, meticulously cleaned, cataloged, and made available through the Salon’s website. “We wanted to get a good catalog going before we actually launched the program. Through this journey, we’ve met some wonderful people who have come to me and told me their stories about loved ones who passed and how nice it is that they have a place where they can bring the wigs instead of tossing them out,” said Christine.

Christine’s motivation goes beyond providing wigs; it stems from a desire to ease the emotional burden on cancer patients. She witnessed the challenges her clients faced when dealing with hair loss due to cancer treatments. The process of choosing, ordering, and waiting for wigs could be overwhelming, not to mention the financial strain. Determined to alleviate these struggles, Christine offered her expertise and the wigs free of charge.

“To spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on these wigs is overwhelming. If you have someone working in a professional environment and go on with their lives as normal as possible after their diagnosis [this gives them a chance to do that],” said Christine.

The wig service at Salon Cure is a testament to Christine’s compassion and dedication to her community. The process begins with a simple phone call, where potential clients provide their details. A free consultation follows, either privately or during regular business hours, allowing individuals to explore the wig catalog and discuss their preferences. Christine will work with the client to ensure that the length, color, and style suit their needs. The salon’s inventory is not limited to the wigs on the website; Christine has cultivated connections within the community to source specific styles and colors if needed. “If I don’t have a wig on the website that looks suitable for an individual, I still encourage them to contact us because we have wigs that are dropped off constantly, but we also, through some of my connections, know of places we can get them. So, if someone is looking for a specific style or colour because that’s the way people have always seen them, please reach out. We can help out – I just need to know what you need,” said Christine.

The entire process, from consultation to wig fitting, is a thoughtful and supportive experience for each client. Christine emphasizes that this service isn’t exclusive to cancer patients; whether someone is dealing with alopecia or has undergone brain surgery, Salon Cure is a judgment-free space. Their commitment to ensuring everyone feels comfortable and confident shines through in every interaction.

Enter Helen Howe, an 83-year-old cancer patient whose life took a positive turn after discovering Salon Cure. Helen’s journey with lung cancer left her grappling with the side effects of treatment, including hair loss. Describing her hair as fine, thin, and uncontrollable, Helen faced a loss of confidence.

However, fate intervened when a fellow volunteer at the local hospital gift shop recommended Salon Cure. Helen connected with Christine, and the rest is a story of transformation. Helen vividly describes the impact of the wig Christine provided, noting that it not only made her look younger but also boosted her self-confidence.

“I have been wearing the wig that Christine gave me ever since,” said Helen, “People are telling me I look younger than before I started losing my hair; everyone admires it; they think it’s just wonderful and natural looking and I have no complaints. Well, yes, I’m complaining about the fact that I’m losing my hair,” Helen says with a playful chuckle.

Helen’s experience is a powerful testament to the profound effect Salon Cure’s wig service can have on an individual’s well-being.

Salon Cure’s journey in providing free wigs is still in its infancy, but the impact is already resonating within the community. Christine and her team have turned grief into generosity, creating a haven for individuals navigating the challenges of cancer treatment.

The Salon welcomes wig donations from the public, ensuring a continuous cycle of support for those facing hair loss. The donated wigs undergo a meticulous cleaning process, symbolizing the care and attention Salon Cure invests in every aspect of this compassionate service: “I don’t charge for my services, all the pieces get cleaned, they get wrapped in new tissue, get put into a new box, the client is given cards to teach them how to maintain the wigs themselves, and if they have any questions they’re always able to come back and ask me.”

Christine Withington’s dedication to her community and remarkable stories like Helen’s underscore the profound impact a small act of kindness can have on someone’s life. Salon Cure’s wig initiative stands as a testament to the power of compassion, community, and the belief that beauty, in all its forms, has the potential to heal and inspire. As you step into Salon Cure, you receive a professional and eco-conscious service and become part of a community-driven initiative that exemplifies the true spirit of humanity.

To see the Salon’s full inventory, visit their website, www.saloncure.ca/wigs, where clients can browse through a catalog of wigs and hair accessories available to them. “If somebody has a wig to donate, they’re welcome to stop by any time,” said Christine. “The girls are all very well versed in what to do with the wigs when they come in. We appreciate the donations and look forward to meeting the people and helping them through their journey”.

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