Why we will continue to #GoGold every September

ErinAndAmanda

Erin Griffin and Gabriella Miller at CureFest in September 2013. Gabby succumbed to her tumor in October 26, 2013, and Erin to hers on September 1, 2014.

Do you realize that, in the last 20 years, there have been only two drugs approved by the FDA for childhood cancers that were initially studied in children? That’s out of 146 drugs approved drugs for cancer treatments in the last twenty years. In fact, many do not realize that cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children and adolescents in the United States. (Source: National Cancer Institute).

Last night, Erin Griffin died from DIPG, the brain tumor she had been battling for two and a half years. Erin was just 14 years old when she died. You can see Erin pictured to the right with her friend, Gabby, who also died from DIPG in October 2013 when she was just 10 years old. Two sweet girls, taken far too soon because there is simply not enough research dollars going toward childhood cancers. Did you know that only 4% of the National Cancer Institute’s Budget for cancer research is allocated toward childhood cancer research? And, if you think that these kids get the short end of the stick because childhood cancers are rare, think again. Childhood cancers have risen 29% in the past twenty years. (Source: National Cancer Institute). Since we were made aware of childhood cancer in 2007, we’ve learned personally that childhood cancer is not rare — just read our blog post from September of 2013, childhood cancer is not rare.

Our apologies if this post isn’t pretty, but childhood cancer is far from pretty. And, until that changes, we will continue to #GoGold in September, sharing stories about these children that have touched our hearts so dearly. We will continue to be a voice for these children because the majority of the people doing so currently are the family members fighting for their kid’s life, or have lost their child to cancer, and that just doesn’t seem fair. Unfortunately, we don’t know of a way to make it pretty. We can only make it a journey of hope and to celebrate the wins in this arena with triumphant celebration! Learning of a “No Evidence of Disease” (NED) in one of these children fills us with so much hope and excitement that we are giddy for days. We will continue to pray for these children, and to share the facts about childhood cancer, until a cure is found.

Here’s what we are doing to help, and we will share a few ways you can help below!

  1. We will be donating $1 from every haircut in September to the childhood cancer dream team through The Truth 365.
  2. Again, this year, instead of a cut-a-thon which only lasts one day, we wanted to do something that people could participate the entire month. Similar to the Pink
    Gold Hair for a Cure

    Gold Hair for a Cure

    Hair for Hope campaign, we are launching a Gold Hair for a Cure campaign. Come and have a SO.CAP gold extension added to your locks for just $10 and we will donate 100% of our profit to finding a cure for pediatric cancer. When people ask why you have a gold hair extension, tell them about Pediatric Cancer Action Month! (And, we have contacted SO.CAP USA to see if they can make this a national campaign. We’ll keep you posted!)

  3. We will be asking every person checking out if they would like to add $1, $3 or $5 to their ticket to be donated to pediatric cancer research funding.
  4. We will be supporting Camp Sunshine in January 2015, and a bunch of us from the salon will be taking the Virginia Polar Dip to support Camp Sunshine. More details to come on that later 🙂

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Participate in CureFest in Washington DC on September 21, 2014. The festival is FREE and the walk is just $20. We will be there again this year showing people how easy a Crazy Hair Day for Kids’ Cancer fundraisers are!
  2. Take a Crazy Hair Day for Kids’ Cancer flyer to your school and have your school host a no-cost fundraiser. It’s so very simple. Kids get to wear their hair crazy for a day and they bring in a small donation. We have a flyer for preschool and elementary schools, and one for middle and high schools. When other kids ask why their hair is ‘crazy’ for the day, it’s a *great* opportunity for these kids to share why. Don’t have kids in school? Take a flyer to work and hang it in your office kitchen. And if you are not a client of ours, take the fliers to your salon. Share with your stylist or the owner of that salon. Get them involved in promoting this amazingly easy fundraiser.
  3. Donate to any one of the many organizations helping kids battling cancer. Here are just a few great ones we know about or have donated to in the past: The Band of Parents, The Isabella Santos Foundation, Journey 4 A Cure, Arms Wide Open Childhood Cancer Foundation, Stillbrave Childhood Cancer Foundation and the DC Candlelighters. Please do not think any amount is too small. If everyone gave $1, these organizations and the children they serve would benefit tremendously!
  4. Participate in a walk in Nova, at CureFest, or a run, or join Team Salon Khouri on our Virginia Polar dip. Come on, it will be fun — submerging into a little freezing water for less than one minute of your life for these kids sounds like a great way to have fun and spread awareness.
  5. Get involved through a social media outreach campaign through The Truth 365.
  6. Watch the Truth 365 Documentary to learn more about the state of pediatric cancer.
  7. Write your Congressperson, and ask him or her to sign The Pledge. We need more than 4% of federal cancer research dollars going toward pediatric cancers.

Hopefully one of these will speak to you. These kids do not have a voice. They are busy fighting for their lives. Be their voice, take action for them.

How this Fairfax non-profit is helping babies find homes

“This must be a home. I have always wanted a home.”

Thousands love the classic children’s book, written in 1968, titled Corduroy. If you haven’t read it, it’s an endearing story about a little toy bear named Corduroy who wanders out of the toy department one night in search of his lost button. He ultimately gets bought by Lisa, a little girl who had seen him the day before and whose mom commented that he’d lost said button. Lisa comes back triumphantly the next day to purchase Corduroy, button or no button. When he arrives with Lisa to her apartment, he says those sweet little words, “This must be a home. I’ve always wanted a home.”

The story is so endearing because it unites a little bear wanting to be loved with a family ready to love him. Every human on this planet needs a place where we are loved — a place where we are cared for and nurtured. For many babies and children, home is something they’ve not yet met. Fairfax’s Bethany Christian Services is doing what they can to bridge that gap by placing infants into loving, adoptive homes.

Bethany Christian Services is a global nonprofit family preservation and child welfare organization caring for orphans and vulnerable children on five continents. Bethany is recognized as a prominent leader in social services worldwide. Bethany serves children of all ages and strives toward a world where every child has a loving family. Bethany’s services include family support and preservation, adoption, foster care, pregnancy counseling, training, refugee services, sponsorship, and infertility ministry.

Because of Bethany Christian Services, there are children across Northern Virginia and across the globe that can say the same words as Corduroy, “This must be a home. I have always wanted a home.”

This August, Salon Khouri is donating $1 from every haircut to Fairfax Bethany Christian Services. At checkout, we encourage you to match our donation by adding $1 to your ticket.

Stillbrave …

Just about a week and a half ago, Tattoo Tom Mitchell ran 100 miles in honor of one hundred children battling or who have lost their battle with cancer. Following his grueling journey via Facebook, we saw many times the fatigue and the mental exhaustion involved in such a physical challenge. But each mile, he stayed the course. As Tom posted to the Stillbrave Facebook page, “I wanted to quit many times, everything hurt so bad I could hardly take a painless breath,” yet he finished by thinking about the “100 children who carried me the entire way,” including his daughter Shayla who lost her several year battle with cancer.

Stillbrave’s mission is simple, yet powerful: “To provide non-medical, supportive care to children with cancer, and their families in the Washington, DC Metro area.” Many times when thinking of childhood cancer, the focus is only on funding research. Don’t get us wrong, research funding must be the primary focus. With a measly 4% of the federal cancer budget, we believe without a doubt that childhood cancer research needs more funding. However, there are many non-medical needs these families face. Parents miss work and often lose vital income needed to maintain the household. Siblings need babysitting while mom and dad are at the hospital. A faucet may start to leak in the house — the repair of which is the last thing any of these families need on any given week of treatments.

Tom and Tara Sanker

Tom Mitchell with Tara Sankner. Such a great photo of these two!!

This July, we are supporting Stillbrave Childhood Cancer Foundation by donating $1 from every haircut we do this month. Additionally, you can choose to add $1, $3 or $5 to your ticket at checkout which will also be donated to Stillbrave. We encourage you to take time to read the cold hard facts about childhood cancers, sign the petition at The Truth 365 to ask Congress to increase federal funding for childhood cancer, and look at the many volunteer opportunities available. #StepUp for Childhood Cancer!

Does your teen know The ART of Driving?

Our featured community outreach in June is with The ART of Driving. The ART of Driving was founded by Robyn Thompson after her sixteen year old daughter, Ashley, lost her life in a singular vehicular accident in 2003. Robyn created The ART of Driving program in memory of her daughter to increase awareness among teens and parents of the unique risks faced by young, novice drivers and to impress upon them the need for improved training, increased supervised time behind-the-wheel, and increased parental involvement. The ART of Driving is also advocating for improvements in driver education for our youth and seeks to change the mindset of teens and their parents that tragedies like this “won’t happen to me”. ArtOfDriving

This June, Salon Khouri will be donating $1 from every haircut to The ART of Driving. We encourage you to sign up for their first charity run/walk 5k, Survive the 5, which will be held Saturday, October 4th at 9 am at Cameron Run Water Park in Alexandria, VA. It will be a beautiful morning and is a family event!

Definition: Salon Khouri Enthusiast

Our long-time clients have heard the phrase for sometime now, but we thought we’d have some fun with actually defining the term ‘Salon Khouri Enthusiast’ – so, here it goes:

A Salon Khouri Enthusiast:

  • Happily and eagerly shares their love of Salon Khouri with friends, family and complete strangers
  • Is passionate about Salon Khouri’s team-based philosophy and service to the local community
  • Anticipates their visits to Salon Khouri with intense excitement
  • Is addicted to the customer service experience delivered at Salon Khouri

It is our ultimate goal to create Salon Khouri Enthusiasts. We do that by following our Mission and Vision statement in every aspect of our company.

We won’t give up …

For those of our friends that have been Salon Khouri enthusiasts for a few years, you know our passion and the story and names behind our passion for childhood cancer awareness. This past year has seen tremendous strides being made, but there is still a lot of work to do. Here are a few stats borrowed from our friends at The Truth 365:

  • Cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children and adolescents in the United States. (Source: National Cancer Institute)
  • One out of every 300 males and one out of every 333 females in America will develop cancer before their 20th birthday. (Source: American Society of Clinical Oncology)
  • More than 40,000 children undergo treatment for cancer each year. (Source: CureSearch)
  • Approximately 20 percent of all children with cancer will die for their disease, a secondary cancer,  or complications from treatment. (National Cancer Institute)
  • Incidence of invasive pediatric cancers is up 29% in the past 20 years. (Source: National Cancer Institute)
  • In the last 20 years, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved only two pediatric cancer drugs—Clolar (clofarabine) and Erwinaze (asparaginase Erwinia chrysanthemi)—that were initially studied in children. Other drugs for children’s cancers were first studied in or approved for adults with cancer. (American Association for Cancer Research)
  • Cancer treatments can affect a child’s growth, fertility, and endocrine system. Child survivors may be permanently immunologically suppressed. (Source: National Cancer Institute)

There are more facts, but reading just these few is hard enough. And that’s sort of the predicament these children are in. Childhood cancer is scary. It’s not easy to look at, and it’s certainly not easy to see photos of children battling the disease. Finding a way to rally in a positive way is often difficult, particularly when a child is terminal. And that’s why we chose to support this cause more than once last year and again this year. We feel more people need to know the truth about childhood cancers. Many times, it’s the parents of the children fighting who are out raising awareness. That’s just not fair to them. They have such a heavy load — it is our responsibility to pick up the banner and march on their behalf.

If you think childhood cancer is rare, think again. As we mentioned in our September 2013 blog post, we know at least eight children in our immediate circle of friends who have been diagnosed with a form of childhood cancer. Ava Buhr, the daughter of a long-time Salon Khouri client, was diagnosed with Pre-B Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia when she was just two and a half years old. After two and a half years of chemotherapy — yes two and a half years — we got to cheer as Ava celebrated her last day of chemotherapy! You can read more about Ava here

Left: Ava after being diagnosed. Right: Ava on her LAST day of chemo!!

Left: Ava after being diagnosed. Right: Ava on her LAST day of chemo!!

Then, just last year, we received heartbreaking news that a long-time family friend’s daughter, Kate Rhoades, was diagnosed at just two and a half years of age with high risk, Pre-B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia — just like Ava. You can read more about Kate’s story here. The survival rates for ALL are great — which is the good news. However, Kate, just like Ava, will still have to endure a grueling two and a half years of chemotherapy. That’s a lot of pokes, a lot of nausea, a lot of just not feeling well at all. Probably one of the most difficult introductions I’ve ever had to make in my life was introducing Kate’s mom to Ava’s mom. Happy introductions would be something in the realm of, “both your daughters love Hello Kitty — I thought I’d introduce you!” Instead, it was, “Lindsay, let me introduce you to Jeannie. Her daughter was also diagnosed with ALL at two and a half years old and she can hopefully answer some questions for you.” 

On the left, Kate after being diagnosed checking out the "tubies" that will be implanted in her port so that chemo can be given with less "pokes".  On the right, Kate having a particularly bad chemo week. Blankies and iPad time were all she was up for doing that week.

On the left, Kate after being diagnosed checking out the “tubies” that will be implanted in her port so that chemo can be administered. On the right, Kate having a particularly bad chemo week. Blankies and iPad time were all she was up for doing that week.

We will continue to raise awareness for these little cuties. And we will continue to raise awareness for those we lost to this awful disease just this past year: Talia Joy Castellano, Zach Sobiech, Chase Johnson, and two local children, Gabriella Miller and Gavin Rupp. Each time we hear another child has lost their battle, our heart is filled with a heavy sadness. It is then filled with anger — anger that pediatric cancer is given such little funding compared to adult cancers, and anger that childhood cancers have risen 29% in the past 20 years and it’s not a headline story on every news channel.

As a little ol’ hair salon in Fairfax, VA, we are just trying to help in any way we can. Spread awareness, raise a little money, and hopefully, inspire others to learn more about childhood cancer and what they can do to help. One easy thing everyone can do is to sign the petition at The Truth 365 asking Congress to make childhood cancer research a national priority. You could follow Kate and Ava’s stories, volunteer at Cure Fest this September, or just simply pray for these kids. We will continue to pray daily for these little ones. Also, this May, Salon Khouri will donate $1 from each haircut to the dream team of pediatric oncologists working hard to find a cure via The Truth 365.

Justice for the poor …

IJMLogoInternational Justice Mission works to bring justice to the poor, who otherwise have no voice. IJM’s founder, Gary Haugen, was a human rights attorney working for the U.S. Department of Justice when the United Nations asked him to lead its investigation of the horrific genocide that had engulfed the small African nation of Rwanda. Compelled by the urgent needs his team saw and inspired by their faith, Haugen and a small team envisioned a new kind of human rights organization: a group that would leverage the skills of criminal justice professionals to protect the poor from violent oppression. IJM is now a global team of nearly 600 lawyers, social workers, investigators, community activists and other professionals working to protect the poor from violence in nearly 20 communities throughout the developing world, with partner offices in Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK. Through the support of a global movement of friends and partners, IJM has collaborated with local authorities to rescue thousands of victims of everyday violence and has put hundreds of violent criminals behind bars.

Each day, we see powerful proof that justice for the poor is possible.

One of IJM’s areas of focus is sex trafficking, whose victims have shockingly reached even the quiet suburbs of Northern Virginia. Worldwide, nearly two million children are enslaved in sex trafficking. Suhana was just 13 when she was sold into a brothel in India. “It would have been better if I had died,” Suhana explains in a story about her being enslaved. “I wished for a miracle … for someone to come and take me out of that dark place.” Suhana was rescued by IJM during a sting operation and brought into IJM’s aftercare program. Devastatingly, she was lured once again back into slavery from a boy who told her he loved her. She was again rescued, against all odds, and found in Mumbai, a city of over 18 million people. Her story sounds like the makings of a Hollywood film, but it’s a true story and unfortunately, one that happens every day to millions of children. You can see a video put together by IJM of Suhana’s story here.

It’s always the poor who are the first to be victimized. It’s very easy to pick on the poor because who is going to come to defend them? What resources do they have to fight back or to protect themselves?

Saju Mathew, IJM’s National Director in India states a hard fact: “It’s always the poor who are the first to be victimized. It’s very easy to pick on the poor because who is going to come to defend them? What resources do they have to fight back or to protect themselves?” In addition to helping millions of innocent children, IJM also seeks to help free the over 30 million people who are being held as modern-day slaves, and to help the 1.5 billion of the world’s poor who live without secure rights to their homes and property. Please learn more about this wonderful organization and how they are helping bring justice to the poor.

This April, Salon Khouri will be donating $1 from every haircut to the International Justice Mission (IJM). You also have an opportunity to donate an additional $1, $3, or $5 upon checkout.