It matters

I recently had the absolute pleasure of meeting Kari, her sister and her friend. She tweeted at me asking if I knew anyone in the area that could come to the hospital to cut her hair before it fell out from the chemo.

Kari was recently diagnosed with Lukemia, you can read about it here, is staying at a local hospital while she goes through treatment/chemotherapy.

I read that tweet and felt the weight of sadness, fear, and hope all at the same time. And I wanted to give her an adorable haircut that she could rock for these next few weeks with her hair.

So I tweeted back at her, and we began e-mailing making plans.

My husband joined me and we got up on a Sunday morning a few weeks ago and headed over to the hospital.

We found Kari’s room, knocked on the door, and were greeted with a cheerful and happy woman and her friends.

Kari’s room was covered in photos of her three girls, her husband, and family members. She had cards strung across the window, and her sister and friend looked like they were busy working on little projects for her.

We all chatted for a bit, and then got down to business. Kari’s hair was a few inches past her collar bone, and she wanted something shorter so it wouldn’t hurt quite as bad as it came out. The longer the hair, the heavier the “pull” on the follicle.
*I swear she wasn’t as scared as she looks here ;)


She had a *perfect* face shape for a chin length bob, so I cut off her hair and gave her a fresh new look. While I think it was hard for her to loose her beautiful,wavy locks, I think she was glad to have it shorter during this time.

While we were all chatting about our mutual love for musicals and such, Kari mentioned that she will need a bone marrow transplant. And her sister isn’t a full-blood relative so there’s only a slight chance that she’ll be a match. (I believe it’s still risky even if you are full-blood relatives, but correct me if I’m wrong.)

Her sister told me about a website where you can sign up to a registry and be a match if a patient needs a transplant, and you can find all that information here.

It was truly such a gift to be able to meet Kari and lighten up her load a little bit, in something as simple as a haircut. It’s such a perfect example of how God can use something that can be deemed “vain” as something really meaningful and uplifting.

It’s so good for me to be reminded of this as well. This industry doesn’t have to be ultimately self-fufilling and self-focused. It can be used as a gift, an act of kindness, or a favor. 

I hope you are encouraged too, in whatever it is that you do, that it doesn’t have to be simply what the world makes it to be–you can take advantage of opportunities you are presented with to really make it much more than that. 
If you are interested in following Kari’s story, you can read all about it here.


Comments

  1. says

    Yes, what you do DOES matter Kate. Even with this blog you have touched me and countless others. Feeling good on the inside is very important but making a woman feel beautiful on the outside matters as well. What a great thing you did! xo

  2. says

    This so hit home for me. My younger brother (who is a half, not full sibling)who is 12 years younger had to have a bone marrow transplant a year and half ago. He did get an anonymous donor as nobody in the family was a match. Prayers to this brave woman. It is a hard road.

    • says

      Thank you for sharing Kari’s story and your part in being an encouragement to her. As a friend of many of her family members, I send her a “high five” on “High Five Fridays” (you can tweet it with the hashtag #karikickscancer), and love that you did something so tangible and selfless to demonstrate compassion. I haven’t followed (or known about…and I’m clearly in the minority for that) your blog before, but seeing this as a representation of the person behind the blog, I’ll certainly be “tuning in!”

  3. says

    First of all: she is gorgeous, and she will be in my prayers. And second of all: yes what you do matters so much. Even your tutorials on youtube MATTER, Kate. You are not only a talented stylist, but you are sharing your craft in a way that helps girls learn for themselves how to make themselves feel beautiful. You could hole yourself up in some fancy salon and charge $200 for each updo you do, and instead, you give us the gift of doing it ourselves. You matter, Kate. You matter a lot.

  4. says

    I encourage everyone to register at Bethematch.org. It is just a simple cheek swab and you may be able to save someone’s life. This story hits me deep and I sit here in tears, because my sister and I went through this last summer. Luckily she and I are perfect matches; however, for most people this isn’t the case. Please, please, please register. There are so many people out there in need of bone marrow transplants! Thank you for bringing attention to this important issue on your blog.

  5. says

    Kate, I just read Kari’s story which brought me to tears. I will be praying for her and her family. They are really going through a tough time right now. I wish there was something I could do to help. Maybe bring her family a meal one night after she gets out of the hospital.

    I’m so thankful you were able to go and cut her hair. She is beautiful!

    Andrea

  6. says

    How wonderful for you to do this. You will be blessed for your kindness. Thanks for sharing with us. God bless you! <3

  7. says

    This is so important! Thank you for sharing. What you do is very important Kate, don’t ever forget that! You are sharing your gift and talent with others.

    My friend just had his bone marrow transplant a week ago so this really hits home. The level of admiration and love he has for his donor, even though he has never met him, is incredible. The gift of life is such an amazing thing.

  8. says

    Oh my, how touching. What a wonderful thing you did for her. Kari, I will be praying for complete healing for you!
    BTW, I hope all your readers will consider joining the Be the Match registry. I joined a couple years ago. It is completely painless to join. They sent me a little packet, and all I did was swab the inside of my cheek and sent it back. You could one day save a life.

  9. says

    What an incredible story. It’s so wonderful that you and your husband dedicated some of your time to help and spend some time with her. I think that is truly touching!

  10. says

    Thank you for telling her story and for spreading the word. I have been working at Be The Match for 14 years now, and it’s so wonderful how many people have stepped up to save the life of others they don’t even know.

    http://www.marrow.org

  11. says

    So beautiful! And for sure agree, I’ve donated my hair twice and I always feel amazing about it. Getting your hair cut doesn’t have to be vain, it can totally help someone!

    Thanks for sharing!

  12. says

    Be the Match is a great program that matches nearly 90% of people in need of bone marrow transplants with donors (only roughly 10% of people are ever a match with siblings or family members). All it takes to sign up is an information packet and a few cheek swabs! The actual transplant process is much different than what most people think. If a donor is found to be a true match and agrees to donation, they will take one shot a day for five days that will stimulate their body to produce new stem cells and release them into their blood stream. After the five days, the donor will go through the same process as donating plasma. They give blood through one IV, the blood is then filtered, removing the stem cells, and the rest of the blood is then returned to the donor through another IV. In the rare case that they must go into the hip bone to remove mature stem cells (some diseases and patients will only respond to mature stem cells), then the donor will have their choice of anesthesia and pain medication, although people describe the pain as a sore muscle afterwards and don’t even take the pain meds. Most donors have been on the list for years with no match, and some donors have been matched within a few months, it really depends on your genes. I have recently signed up the “Be the Match” and will definitely be willing to donate in the case that I could save someone’s life.

  13. says

    Great what you have done, Kate!

    Kari looks gorgeous with her new hairstyle and she will eventually once she has gone through all this.

    I am on the DKMS bone marrow donation list for many years and I wish more people will join.

    All the best and love for Kari!

    Annette
    Lady of Style
    now on Facebook

  14. says

    Like others have said, registering on the bone marrow registry is simple and you could help save or prolong someone’s life. My sister died from pediatric cancer and I volunteer in the oncology unit of my local children’s hospital and have seen many little patients waiting for their match. I think it is wonderful that you cut Keri’s hair and I hope your post brings more awareness to a wonderful cause and ultimately leads to more people on the registry.

  15. says

    Kate–I’ve been waiting for the right post to tell you my story and how you and your work have affected me during a difficult time, and here it is! Last year, I was involved in a rock climbing accident that left me with broken vertebrate, a challenging head injury, and two shattered ankles, among other injuries. I was in a wheel chair for about three months of my recovery time, with way too much free time to do what I could with my hands. It was during this time I stumbled upon your blog. I have always enjoyed attempting to style my hair (emphasis on attempting!), but my active lifestyle prior to my accident was not always compatible with an elaborate ‘do. Since I was confined to either a bed or a wheelchair, I practiced nearly all of your tutorials to pass the time.

    Kate, I know that you’ve wrestled with the idea that your profession could be considered “vain”, but I want you are the perfect example that this industry does not have to be “self-fulfilling.” Your videos, humor, and thoughts have been a great comfort to me during this year of recovery. When I was stuck in a wheel chair with a back brace and orthopedic boots instead a favorite Target dress and Toms, I can’t tell you how wonderful it was to meet someone and hear them compliment my hair first and then remark on my injuries second! This may seem trivial to some, but I know that you understand how important this boost of self-confidance can be during a difficult time.

    Thank you for sharing Kari’s experience. She looks beautiful and I wish her the very best of luck with her treatment. Thank you for reaching out to those of us struggling with health issues in the best way you know how. It really does matter.

  16. says

    That is so great that you did this for Kari & that you posted it! I have 2 friends (also clients) that have recently been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and with breast cancer. Both have asked me to be there to take care of their hair during these chemo stages. One had me give her a cute, sassy cut so that she could try on wigs now (we cut off about 8″). I’m glad that she felt comfortable enough to ask me to do it, knowing it was going to be an emotional process for her. We talked through it and she looks great with the new “do”.
    Both ladies are doing well with treatment and with prayer for and faith in God’s healing. Thank you for posting. We do offer a lot more than just a haircut and a color. It is SO much more than that for us as stylists <3

  17. says

    Thank you for posting. You don’t know how much this hit home for me! April I had to do the same thing. February 2013 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. No family history..completely out of the blue. My oncologist told me the same thing to cut it short. 2 reasons – A. long hair is a mess to have fall out. B. I wont be as much as a shock when it does fall out.
    I called up my hairstylist that I went to all through out high school and college – and still have a friendship with today. She gave me a short and sassy do! It was not as bad having a friend there with me and knowing what I was going through.
    As I sit here today and think back that short month ago..I am now 100% bald. Getting ready for my 3rd round of chemo.

    You can read about my hair cut here – http://blondetobald.blogspot.com/2013/04/new-look-new-me-and-acceptance.html

    and follow my journey at:
    blondetobald.blogspot.com

  18. says

    What an inspirational story! Just this past November, I had the chance to donate my bone marrow to a five year old girl in another country with a pre-leukemia condition. One of the most amazing experiences of my life and I would do it again in a heartbeat. Being the match was simply amazing. I only wish I knew how the little girl was doing. Thanks for sharing Kari’s story!

  19. says

    So happy to read this story today. Glad there are still people like you out in the world today!! I wish Kari a speedy recovery, xo!

  20. says

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful yet difficult story. May God bless you and her and may she find healing and wellness very soon. I will pray for her. Thank goodness for the good that exists in our world and for the good people who put caring into action. xo

  21. says

    So awesome!! My FIL just had a bone morrow transplant ( at DUKE! ) 2 months ago and a 23 year old stranger was his donor/ hero!

  22. says

    This is an AWESOME example of how our job as hairstylists is important! A few months ago I had a client who is a foster mom call me to ask if I could straighten out a haircut on a teenager who had been placed in her home….when she brought the 17 year old girl in to my salon the next day, she had bruises on her face and neck and her head had been partially shaved by her step-dad as punishment. It was heartbreaking and I broke down after she left. I was so upset that someone could hold down this child and shave her head. Well a couple weeks ago, I had the privilage of doing her hair for her prom! Her hair had grown enough for me to curl and pin it into a formal style…this is why I love my job!

  23. says

    I worked as a wig fitter in the cancer center in college. I never really thought about how attached we are to our hair until it is threatened to go away. the most heartbreaking for me was when a 16 year old came in just in tears because prom was 3 months away and how could she go bald? we found her a great wig and I reminded her how awesome it is to have a “perfect hair day” every day :)

  24. says

    My husband and I registered with “Be The Match” earlier this year. It was a super simple process, and i encourage anyone and everyone that is interested to go to the website to get more info. I swear it was super easy!

    Kate – Thank you for being so selfless and helping this woman. What a blessing you were to her in such a hard time. Something so small, but I am sure it meant a lot to her.

  25. says

    She is BEAUTIFUL and will be in my prayers! I encourage everyone to register at Be The Match. Like others have mentioned, it’s a simple, painless process and could save someones life!

  26. says

    You are a good person for doing what you did and not making it about you. You are a kind and thoughtful person and it further reinforces why I enjoy your blog so much!

  27. says

    You are a good person for doing what you did and not making it about you. You are a kind and thoughtful person and it further reinforces why I enjoy your blog so much!

  28. says

    This post was so touching. You’re right, these “small things” really do matter. Are you familiar with the Look Good, Feel Better? It is a wonderfully supportive program that helps women cope with the changes to their physical appearance while undergoing treatment for cancer. I am an oncology nurse and have shaved numerous patients’ heads once their hair starts to fall out from chemo. It’s always an emotional moment. I’ve seen people cry, laugh, pray, be silent – or a combination of all the above. Not just women either, men too. It matters. Kari looks beautiful with her new ‘do and I wish her all the best as she goes through treatment!

  29. says

    That’s such a wonderful thing you did, Kate. And what a smile on Kari–she looks great! Years ago, my little cousin passed away from a brain tumor, and while she was in the hospital, gestures like yours for Kari meant the world to her. I’ll never forget the people who made her happy just by doing things we otherwise might not think twice about when we’re healthy and going about our daily lives. Also, thank you for your observations at the end of the post, about the way the world looks at certain jobs/industries/pursuits. I’ve struggled with the perception what I do (or even what it is that I’m “supposed” to be doing) a lot lately, so reading your post was really timely and lovely.

  30. says

    What a small world! Kari is a family member and friend of many people from my hometown and high school. I’ve been following her story closely through her sister in law that I know well from High School. I was reading your post and was like… wait, this sounds kind of familiar, then I scrolled down and saw the pictures! How cool! What a blessing it was for her and for you I’m sure. Her family is good people! :-)

  31. says

    What an inspriring story. I find myself reading so many blogs each day but rarely do they inspire me like yours. I teared up a little reading this. I love seeing people helping others. I will be sure to keep Kari in my thoughts.

  32. says

    What a great story! I am proud to say that I am a registered donor through Be The Match. I encourage everyone to look in to registering too.

  33. says

    Reading this caused me to tear up. I remember reading once upon a time how you struggled with entering the industry because you weren’t sure it was glorifying to God (something to that effect). But that is not true…what you did was SO kind and important for this young lady.

  34. says

    What a wonderful gift you gave her. And I agree, something that can be deemed as “vain” can mean something so different to one person.

  35. says

    How lovely of you to give of yourself and share you love for helping people and for style to lift this person up. I have always wanted to regsiter and you ahve given me one more push in that direction. Thanks.

  36. says

    Thank you to everyone for the sweet and kind comments! Kate is such an awesome lady and I was the priveleged one! And, thank you to those that were “persuaded” to sign up for the registry. The likelyhood of one of you being MY match is very slim, but somewhere, sometime, you could save someone ELSE’s life. And THAT makes it all worth it! Thank you!

  37. says

    I love reading this blog for many, many reasons. But the number one reason why I keep coming back, is because I know your heart. Your outward admission of your faith and profession of a Christ follower, hands-down, makes you my favorite blogger. It’s because of this that I know your words shared are not empty and, therefore, your profession isn’t either. God uses everyone from grocery bagger to superstar, from NFL player to gas station attendee, to do His work. All He needs is a willing vessel. Every time you open your chair to a customer, every time you pen a post on this blog, you are about His work. A willing vessel. What a remarkable opportunity we have as we’re about His business of serving and loving others.

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