Wednesday, October 14, 2009


That's what I saw today on the side of the road today. FREE HUGS.

In a world of very little human touch and connection today (I mean, hellloooo...I'm writing a blog, twittering and facebooking all at the same time at the moment), the "free hug" concept is an interesting one. I drove by a group of girls with signs that read "free hugs" and watched as passerbyers either moved away or stopped to give them a hug. How can one refuse a group of folks in black with great hair donating free hugs?

Turns out, it's part of a national "Free Hug Day" by the Paul Mitchell Schools as part of the Free Hugs Campaign. LOVE IT.

So, you're probably all wondering what hugs, good hair and a cancer blog have to do with each other? Alas, before I lose all three of my dedicated blog readers, I will tell you that it has everything to do with it.

I was diagnosed with cancer at 31 years old. At that moment, my hair was over halfway down my back, close to my waist. I thought that my hair would have the same impetuous nature as myself and hang in there, but alas, in my attempt to fight cancer with chemo, I started losing all of it.

Enter --> the most awesome friends who took me on an escape from the hospital to go find some wigs. Inside, I felt awkward and heart-wrenched --- until I turned around and saw them all trying on wigs. I have truly never laughed so hard in my entire laugh. (Joe probably thought I lost this picture of him in his Tina Turner wig. Nope.)

I then made one tough call. I called Salon David Perez to book James, my stylist extraodinaire, to immediately me shave off my shedding hair. I was devastated and frustrated. I knew after all the years of him helping me with my long locks, there was only one person I wanted to help get rid of 'em: James. Within the hour, I was getting an email from James who had heard about the situation, and he agreed to set up an appointment on his day off the next day.

And there we met: My great friend, Joe, who was there for support. Me, with shedding, long locks and feeling sick. And James...with a bubbly smile, a big HUG and reassurance that it was all going to be ok.

He talked to me about all the great styles I could now have growing my hair back out after the chemo --- styles, I add, that I would normally be too scared to try since I was limited by long hair. While I knew I may have some "bad no hair" days coming up, I at least wouldn't be having a "bad hair" day. "Just think of the beautiful, virgin hair you'll have when it grows out," he said. (Only a hair stylist would see to the perks of "new" hair as it grows in, untouched by styling treatments.) He helped cut and shape the 2 wigs I had bought earlier. (Note: If you ever need a wig for cancer treatment, get a stylist to help shape it and make it look great.)

And then, amidst other customers (that didn't look too sure about what was going on), I told him, "Let's do it." He turned on the clippers, and then surprised me by handing them to me for the first cut. We were going to go "G.I. Julie" style.

It was one of the most empowering moments of my life. I took control of my cancer, my treatment, my shedding hair, my attitude, and anything about what "being a girl" meant in society. This was my LIVESTRONG moment.

I rarely share this moment because it means that much to me. Today, I decided to share it with all of you because of the compassion of a young group of hair stylist students wanting to bring some smiles to our community today.

So, you're all wondering -- did I stop my car to say "hi" today? Heck yes. I then proceeded to get bears hugs from an incredibly, talented bunch of folks. Did it make me smile? Yup. Were they smiling? Yup.

Thanks, Paul Mitchell Schools! (Especially the ones in Temecula, CA and San Diego, CA that made my day today!) CURES do hugs, smiles & great hair!

Now, the remaining question the heck will I keep my hair looking fabulous when the Cures Rock! Tour hits the road from San Diego to Phoenix on January 1 to raise funds for cancer research?! ;)


Pic #1: "Free Hugs" from the Temecula Paul Mitchell School
Pic #2: Paul Mitchell logo
Pic #3: Joe & Julie fooling around outside Grenada Wig shop
Pic #4: Joe helping me laugh while I was trying on wigs
Pic #5: James and me at Salon David Perez
Pic #6: Wigs after James styled them for me (We both agreed I HAD to go blonde, at least once!)
Pic #7: My hair started growing back after chemo treatment in 2007


  1. I love this story. I always tell people that when I had cancer and got chemo, the fact that I lost my hair all over except for my ear hair was a sure sign that God has a great sense of humor! Hope you are well. Art

  2. I think you made the day for these gals with the hugs and your story!!


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