DC Candlelighters – our August Community Outreach Partner

We are honored to partner with DC Candlelighters, our August Community Outreach partner. DC Candlelighters is an all-volunteer organization providing emotional, educational, practical and financial support to families of children fighting cancer. The name Candlelighters comes from the ancient proverb: “it is better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness.” DC Candlelighters strives to provide a light in the darkness because we believe no family should face the uncertain world of childhood cancer alone.

DC Candlelighters was founded by a group of mothers whose own children fought cancer, to give families facing the devastating discovery of a child’s cancer something they had wished for themselves – someone who has “been there” and understands the fear, helplessness, and financial and family pressures that grow out of a childhood cancer diagnosis. The DC Candlelighters Board of Directors consists of parents who have had a child with cancer and professionals who have worked with families who experience childhood cancer. The non-profit serves all children with cancer and their families, long-term survivors of childhood cancer and their families, and bereaved families who live or receive treatment within 50 miles of the Washington DC, metropolitan area.

DC Candlelighters has no paid staff, therefore, 100% of all donations go straight into servicing DC area families directly, for programs such as you’ll find on their Programs and Services page.

We will be donating $1 from every haircut we do in August from both our Fairfax and Dulles salons.

 

Beauty out of the ashes – in Memory of Kate Rhoades

It doesn’t get easier. This June 5th, our dear friends, Lindsay and Mike Rhoades, wished their eight year old, sweet little girl, a happy, heavenly birthday. Kate Rhoades lived four years, but should have been here ninety more. But a sudden and rapid relapse to leukemia stole her from her family and friends when she was just four and a half years old.

There isn’t a day that goes by in the Elkhouri home where Kate Rhoades isn’t thought about or her name isn’t said. Our youngest is just a few months older than Kate. With every celebration with our little one, there is always a stinging reminder that Lindsay and Mike pass these milestones visiting Kate’s grave at Chestnut Grove Cemetery. Almost four years later, it still doesn’t seem real. It never will.

Out of the ashes is always beauty, however. Yes, the cinders still burn and always will until Lindsay and Mike are reunited with their precious Kate in heaven. But beauty is growing every day in Kate’s memory through people performing Random Acts of Kateness, to toys — lots and lots and lots of toys – being delivered to children battling cancer and through research. Last year, Kate’s Cause donated $25,000 to a young investor grant with a partnership with Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. The money is helping Dr. Christian Hurtz, PhD, research and study the Cellular Pathways to Enhance Treatment in Ph-like acute lymphoblastic leukemia, the very cancer that Kate had.

We are again partnering with Kate’s Cause this June and donating $1 from every haircut at our Dulles and Fairfax locations to this amazing, local non-profit. We ask our SK Enthusiasts to perform Random Acts of Kateness — buy someone a coffee, help someone with their groceries, mow a neighbor’s lawn — then share about it with the hashtag #RandomActsOfKateness. We love seeing beauty growing from Kate. Her four short years here will leave an impact for hundreds of years to come.

We love what Ellie’s Hats is doing for children battling cancer — our February community outreach partner

In the spring of 2013 a little girl named Ellie was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. By the time she started kindergarten in the fall, she had lost most of her hair and was wearing hats to school every day. Ellie’s Hats was born after one of her teachers, Jay Coakley, noticed how much cheer and individuality the hats brought to Ellie. He wanted to share that feeling with other children who suffered from childhood cancer and to also raise awareness.

Ellie’s Hats mission is to brighten the day of a child who is battling cancer. They do this by sending a package of hats and other items for the child battling cancer and their siblings. They include hats for the siblings too because often they feel left out. They have sent over 1,300 special packages to children across the country. For families in Northern Virginia, which is where they are located, they are able to do more than send them hats. They provide financial support and do whatever they can do to make these kids’ days a little brighter.

Ellie’s Hats is a 100% volunteer run non profit.

Here are a few other things Ellie’s Hats has done for kids battling cancer: #morethanjustahat

  • Donated $1,000’s worth of gift cards and checks
  • The “Hero Bag” Program at Inova Children’s Hospital. (A special bag is given to every newly admitted pediatric cancer patient)
  • Supply the food and drinks for the nourishment room and the PSV Clinic in Falls Church
  • Donated $10,000 to The Pediatric Oncology Family Support Fund in 2016
  • Donated $10,000 to Novant Hemby Children’s Hospital in 2016 to help them remodel their treatment room.
  • Gave three $1,000 Gift Certificates from a local auto repair shop to local families.
  • Helped a teenager go to a Wizards game and get to meet Steph Curry.
  • Had Kirk Cousins record a special video to a high school senior who was recently diagnosed with cancer.
  • Donated ipads, VR goggles, Play Stations, Nintendo Switches, Robots from Double Robitics.

It’s an honor to once again support Ellie’s Hats this February as our community outreach partner. We will donate $1 from every haircut this February from our Fairfax and Dulles locations to this very special, local non-profit.

Giving Hope to thousands of children battling cancer

For Hope Veazey, diagnosed with leukemia at seven years old, HopeCam brought a peace of mind knowing that she could stay connected to her friends and her education. It brought normalcy to a hectic schedule that included many clinic visits and in-patient hospital stays. For Ted and Kristin Veazey, Hope’s parents, HopeCam brought a ray of hope when they were going through the toughest of times.

The mission of Hopecam is simple: to overcome the social isolation experienced by children in treatment for cancer. When a child is diagnosed with cancer, it is important to keep the child connected to school and friends. In fact, research by Suzuki and Kato in 2003 shows that children who felt more supported from their classmates during cancer treatment were “less depressed, less anxious, and had higher self-esteem” than children who did not feel supported by classmates.

We are honored to once again partner with HopeCam this January as our community outreach partner and will be donating $1 from each haircut at both our Fairfax, VA and Dulles Landing, VA locations. It brings us so much joy as a Northern Virginia salon able to give back to our community in this way!

Paying it Forward in Memory of Mathias: Our December Community Outreach Partner

Mathias Giordano

This December marks four years since cancer stole Mathias Giordano from his family and friends. We are honored to remember Mathias through selecting the non-profit created in his name, Team Mathias, as our December Community Outreach Partner. We are donating $1 from every haircut from our Fairfax and Loudoun locations this month to this local, non-profit who is making a difference in the lives of children battling cancer. We will promise to do random acts of kindness in Mathias’ name and would love for you to join in using the hashtags #PayItForward and #MathiasStrong.

The heartbreaking yet beautiful words from Mathias’ mom, Roya, are shared below:

“4 years ago today our world changed forever.

I now realize that the hardest part of losing you, wasn’t to say goodbye but to learn to live without your beautiful smile, your hugs, your sense of humor, your love for life, your care for friends and family, your passion for food and your sophisticated taste for beautiful & contemporary things in life.

The emptiness that your dad, Troy & I feel in our hearts and in our home not just today but EVERYDAY is killing us. There is truly no greater heartache than having to live our lives without you! I was convinced that my heart would stop beating when yours did. 4 years later I’m still wondering how am I still breathing? If the broken heart syndrome is as real as they say it is why hasn’t it made my broken heart stop!

Being your mom has and will always be my biggest accomplishment in life. Your strength, determination and your love for life will always guide me to be a better person & my one and only mission in life is to protect your name and your legacy and to make you proud. I want you to keep smiling down on us in knowing that we are making a small difference each and everyday in the lives of those effected by cancer in your LOVING Memory.

We are blessed to have a lot of loving, caring & supportive friends and family who still remember and honor you daily.

Friends please #PayItForward in Mathias’ memory today. Go out of your way to make someone smile today because of Mathias. Make a donation to your favorite childhood cancer charity, Donate blood or platelets, do something small or big just to remember my sweet, beautiful, handsome boy. My soulmate, my Mathias.”

 

We urge you to please learn more about the facts of childhood cancer. Then we urge you to do something. There are some amazing ideas on the Team Mathias site, on their Take Action page. Register with Be the Match, donate blood, sponsor a Team Mathias Care package, volunteer at an event, share facts on your Facebook page.

 

 

Our Community Outreach Partner for September: The Truth 365

Over 15,000 kids will be diagnosed with cancer in the next 365 days. Cancer kills more than 2,500 children in our country every year.

The goal of The Truth 365 is to educate and mobilize millions of people through Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and other social networking sites. Their full-length documentaries and shorter films inform the public that there is a critical need for funding for childhood cancer research. Through increased awareness comes increased funding. You see, children *should be* our nations’ priority. Yet, the shocking lack of funding for childhood cancers indicates otherwise. We are sad to again be including this fact in our blog: the National Cancer Institute allocates only 4% of it’s cancer research budget toward childhood cancers. And 4% is simply not enough. Drug companies aren’t allocating research dollars either, as there are 16 major types of pediatric cancers and over 100 subtypes – all of which need to be approached differently. Much of the funding for new therapies are left to be raised by the parents, which is a burden they should not have to bear. Yet, they do, faced with no other options for helping their children. They bike, run, shave their heads, participate in ultra marathons — just about anything they can do — they will to raise money to give to advance research.

We would love for you to spread the word about CureFest, an amazing and FREE childhood cancer event in Washington DC! This year, CureFest will be September 15th and 16th, with the 1.8 mile walk on Sunday.

We are donating $1 from every haircut from both locations this September to The Truth 365. You also have an opportunity to help by donating at our front desk where you can fill out a Childhood Cancer Awareness Square to hang in our window to help us #GoGold this September! To read more about the shocking facts of childhood cancer, please read our blog post from last year.

childhoodcancersquare

It’s better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness: DC Candlelighters

We are honored to partner with DC Candlelighters, our August Community Outreach partner. DC Candlelighters is an all-volunteer organization providing emotional, educational, practical and financial support to families of children fighting cancer. The name Candlelighters comes from the ancient proverb: “it is better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness.” DC Candlelighters strives to provide a light in the darkness because we believe no family should face the uncertain world of childhood cancer alone.

DC Candlelighters was founded by a group of mothers whose own children fought cancer, to give families facing the devastating discovery of a child’s cancer something they had wished for themselves – someone who has “been there” and understands the fear, helplessness, and financial and family pressures that grow out of a childhood cancer diagnosis. The DC Candlelighters Board of Directors consists of parents who have had a child with cancer and professionals who have worked with families who experience childhood cancer. The non-profit serves all children with cancer and their families, long-term survivors of childhood cancer and their families, and bereaved families who live or receive treatment within 50 miles of the Washington DC, metropolitan area.

We will be donating $1 from every haircut we do in August from both our Fairfax and Dulles salons. We also wanted to share with you information about their biggest fundraiser of the year: Dancing Through the Decades. The event will have hors d’oeuvres, beverages, entertainment, dancing and a silent auction! All proceeds raised that evening will benefit DC Candlelighters so they can continue their programs and events. Purchase tickets before August 31st and receive a special price of $60 per ticket! Your ticket includes entry to the event, dining and two adult beverage drinks.

This little light of mine …

Kate Olivia Rhoades’ light shone brightly on all who were lucky enough to meet her. Kate was diagnosed with high risk, pre-b cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia when she was 26 months old. She underwent two and a half years of treatment, including chemo, steroids, port surgery, and spinal taps. After four months of being treatment free, Kate relapsed and was taken from this world just 15 hours after her parents, Lindsay and Mike, learned of her relapse.

Lindsay and Mike promised Kate that they would continue to fight in Kate’s honor for less toxic treatments for children battling cancer with the ultimate goal of finding a cure. They formed Kate’s Cause, a non-profit aimed at raising awareness and funds for less-toxic childhood cancer research. Another important mission of Kate’s Cause is to give back to the childhood cancer community, which they beautifully do through toy drives and activities at The Pediatric Specialists of Virginia Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders and her treatment hospital, Inova Children’s Hospital.

We are honored to be partnering once again with this amazing, local non-profit as our Community Outreach Partner for June. For every haircut we perform in June, $1 will be donated to Kate’s Cause.

Lindsay wrote a beautiful post remembering and honoring Kate today and we wanted to share it here:

Seventh Heaven

For the third year in a row, you nudged me awake right at 4:04am, the very moment your beautiful face entered this world. For the third year in a row, it’s bright and beautifully sunny outside instead of the forecasted gray and dreary. For the third year in a row, I have walked to your room and wished to the heavens I’d find you there. But for the third year in a row, you are gone on your birthday and I’m celebrating for you instead of with you.

It’s your 7th birthday today and I’ve found the words “seventh heaven” rolling around in my mind over the last few days. Not even knowing what it meant, I thought it a good title for a birthday post. It sounded right – afterall, you’re spending your 7th in heaven, so it felt to me to be a good fit.

Seventh Heaven: the highest heaven, where God and the most exalted angels dwell. A state of intense happiness; bliss.

Well now, Kate. If that doesn’t just embody who you are. If that doesn’t just describe in perfect form WHERE you are. If that doesn’t just explain in 17 words the very nature of your time here on Earth – the gift you gave those who knew you, then surely no words exist that can.

You are my seventh heaven, angel, and I love you more than words. I miss you every day and while I struggle to celebrate a day such as today when you should be bouncing off the walls from too much cake….celebrate you, I will. Your life was my life’s greatest joy and I would do it all over, no matter the outcome, just to be near you. Just to share our own personal brand of seventh heaven.

Happy 7th birthday my precious girl. I love you. I miss you. Best friends forever. I promise.

 

Help our April Community Outreach Partner Break a World Record! #Twenty4Alex

We would LOVE for you to help our April Community Outreach Partner, Alex’s Army Childhood Cancer Foundation, break a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™! Yes, be a part of history on June 10th and break the record for the most people doing push-ups! If the record is broken, all registered participants will be able to order an Official GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ certificate. This is a FAMILY FRIENDLY event and will run from 2 pm to 5 pm, with the push ups taking place at 4 PM. Make a team at work or your gym and help this amazing, local non-profit in a fun and unique way in spreading awareness for childhood cancers.

Step 1: Register (it’s FREE)!!!

Step 2: Tell your friends and help spread the word!

Step 3: Practice your push-ups!

Step 4: Come to Salon Khouri the month of April for a haircut and we will donate $1 from every cut to AACCF.

There will be some powerful guest speakers plus music, food trucks, kids’ games, entertainment, and of course the push-up attempt itself!

This event is FREE to the public but registration to participate in the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ attempt is required.  We will have a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ judge onsite so that the determination will be made that day on whether we have officially created the new world record!

ALL proceeds raised by push-up participants or sponsors of this event will be put toward the Alex’s Army 2018 research fund.

You may be thinking, “why push ups?” Well, Alex Green was a sweet, local boy diagnosed with Stage IV Wilms tumor when he was just 5 years old. Alex fought for five years: through 17+ surgeries — one of which left him paralyzed from the waist down — through 30+ radiation treatments, multiple chemotherapies, and various clinical trials. Alex also had tremendous faith, was a fierce competitor and athlete. One of his favorite verses was Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Even through his treatments, Alex played various sports (wheelchair-bound, even!) Despite the harsh treatments, he committed to remaining strong and set a daily reminder on his phone to do 20 push ups. When Alex went onto hospice care in 2016, the community started doing push-ups on his behalf using the hashtag #Twenty4Alex. Alex passed away in June of 2016, but his legacy of strength and encouragement lives on.

 

Giving hope to children battling cancer with HopeCam

The mission of Hopecam is simple: to overcome the social isolation experienced by children in treatment for cancer. When a child is diagnosed with cancer, it is important to keep the child connected to school and friends. In fact, research by Suzuki and Kato in 2003 shows that children who felt more supported from their classmates during cancer treatment were “less depressed, less anxious, and had higher self-esteem” than children who did not feel supported by classmates.

Hopecam is a local non-profit who gives hope to thousands of children across the U.S. by keeping them connected to their friends and teachers during treatment. And, in November of 2011 when Ava Buhr, the daughter of a dear client, was diagnosed with Pre-B Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, Hopecam brought smiles and joy as it connected Ava with her teacher and classmates.

We are honored to partner with Hopecam this March as our March community outreach partner and will be donating $1 from each haircut at both our Fairfax, VA and Dulles Landing, VA locations. It brings us so much joy to be a Northern Virginia salon able to give back to our community in this way! Also, be sure to sign up for the 18th Annual Hopecam 5k on Sunday, May 6th.