Toni & Guy’s Pink Scissors Program is helping cancer sufferers regain dignity one haircut at a time

We all love the feeling that comes with a good hair day. It’s a momentary confidence boost that makes us feel empowered, strong and beautiful. But it’s something we take for granted because by the next day, our good hair day is long forgotten.

For those suffering with cancer, hair loss is a tough and inevitable reality which only builds upon the battle they are bravely fighting.

One of Australia’s leading hair salons, Toni & Guy, has launched a compassionate initiative, the Pink Scissor Program, to help cancer sufferers feel gorgeous and empowered during their taxing process of chemotherapy. This one-of-a-kind initiative encourages a positive body image for cancer patients and aims to restore the courage and strength they’re at risk of loosing during their hair loss.

Newtown’s Toni & Guy salon, owned by award-winning beautician Lea-Ann Suthern, is one of many salons involved in the Pink Scissor Program. By linking Pink Scissor Specialists to clients, the salon is able to create a safe space that offers a supportive and break-away environment for cancer patients. One patient in particular, Talia, has been inspired and humbled by the care and support she’s received from the program.

“I’d really look forward to each visit to the salon, especially because it was such a welcome change from all the medical appointments. Lea-Ann Suthern was my Pink Scissor Specialist, and from the moment we met she was really comfortable talking openly about cancer — not just the hair loss aspect,” says Talia of her experience.

Side shot of patient having hair blow-dried

Talia having her fiery hair treated at Newtown’s Toni & Guy salon. Image: Supplied

Talia was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer soon after she finished breastfeeding her youngest daughter, but admitted she was relieved she discovered the lump in the early stages. “When I was first told that I had cancer I was pretty shocked. My friends and family have been amazing, especially my eldest daughter, who is 11. She’s been telling me how brave I’ve been over the past few months, but I doubt I’d have been half as strong and supportive as she’s been if our roles were reversed.”

By a twist of fate, Talia visited Toni & Guy in Newtown in June just a day before Lea-Ann was set to launch the Pink Scissor Program in her salon. From then, Talia regularly visited Lea-Ann who cut and treated her hair on ten occasions. “Lea-Ann treated me like a queen each time I visited, making me tea, washing my hair, massaging my scalp and styling my hair with more attention to detail than I’ve ever experienced in my pre-cancer life!”

The Pink Scissor Program offered Talia an initial one-on-one consultation which provided her with a sense of ease as she dealt with the reality of hair loss. “The program gave me a degree of control. I couldn’t change the fact that I needed chemotherapy, and would be losing my hair. But I could dictate the way I lost my hair. This might seem like a small thing, but in hindsight it was  a defining moment. Instead of fighting against the cancer, I was going to work with it.”

The program offers cuts, shaves and wig touch-ups during appointments which are booked to the patient’s availability.

“I’m a redhead and my hair is definitely my signature feature. When I first learnt that I’d be losing my hair to chemotherapy, not only was I saddened by the prospect of having all my hair fall out, but I also had this irrational fear that once I lost my red hair, I’d somehow be losing the very essence of who I am… I was actually pretty excited when it came time for the buzz cut though, because I was so curious to see what I looked like with a shaved head.”

Although Talia’s battle with cancer is not over yet, Toni & Guy and Lea-Ann’s unyielding support has restored the beauty and strength cancer threatens to take.

“More than anything, I think [the program] is important because it brings people with cancer into close contact with everyday, healthy people out in the real world. Having Lea-Ann donate hours of her time and expertise was such an affirming experience.

“It’s so much easier to face adversity knowing that you’re backed by the kindness and generosity of others actively doing what they can to support you.”

Find out more about the Pink Scissor Program by Toni & Guy here.

Featured Image: Toni & Guy