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.

More Than Just a Hat! Our February Community Outreach Partner

We just adore this photo posted to the Ellie’s Hats blog recently of sweet little Cash, having a blast in an Ellie’s Hats tote. They dubbed it, “Cash in a bag!”

Sweet Cash in an Ellie's Hats Bag

Cash and his family were recent recipients of an Ellie’s Hats care package that included a bag, hats (of course!), a tee shirt, bracelets, and a gas card. Cash’s mom sent a sweet thank you to Ellie’s Hats:

“We received your package and are so overwhelmed by your kindness. Thank you so much for the sweet hats for all our kids, the bracelets, the shirt, the ribbon pin, the amazing bag and the gas card. Cash and his siblings were so excited when they opened the box. It brought tears to mine and my husband’s eyes. We are so very grateful and feel so blessed to receive such a loving and caring package for our family. Thank you again….so much.”

We love what Ellie’s Hats is doing for local children battling cancer. What they do really is ‘More than just a hat.’ In fact, last year, Ellie’s Hats donated $20,000 in total Pediatric Oncology Family Support Fund at INOVA Children’s Hospital and Novant Hemby Children’s Hospital, coordinated Family Dinner Nights and have brought smiles to thousands of faces across the nation by sending handmade hats to children battling cancer.

We are proud to once again partner with Ellie’s Hats this February by donating $1 from every haircut in February from both our Fairfax and Dulles locations to Ellie’s Hats.

Honoring Mathias Giordano through Team Mathias: Our December Community Outreach Partner

MathiasGravesite

There are a million and one things wrong with this photo. It’s a photo taken by Roya Giordano at the graveside of her son, Mathias. The day Roya posted this photo, it had been 1,085 days without her precious son on this earth. Mathias passed on December 7th, 2014 after a 29-month long battle with Osteosarcoma, a bone cancer diagnosed mostly in boys, mostly whom are under the age of 25. Mathias was just 11 years old when he and his family were given the devastating diagnosis. Mom’s should never, ever have to post a photo like this, or count the number of days it has been since their little one was last kissed or hugged by them.

We wanted to share Mathias’ story with you and have again selected the foundation set up in his name, Team Mathias, as our December Community Outreach Partner as it is our hope that one day, there will be a cure for all childhood cancers. Spreading Mathias’ story is one way we can honor him, remember him, and spread awareness about childhood cancer.

Mathias had an amazing smile. Our bet is lots of 11 year old girls were smitten with him! He was funny and giving of himself, always looking for ways to serve others while he himself was battling an awful disease. Mathias, Roya, and Jay Coakley, founder of Ellie’s Hats, worked together toward the end of Mathias’ battle to create a Childhood Cancer specialty plate in Virginia, after learning one did not yet exist. (We urge you to order a CC plate through the DMV.) We posted last year about the tremendous LOVE for Mathias that is so apparent when looking through photos on the Team Mathias Facebook page. Since that post, more beautiful photos have been published of people coming together in Mathias’ memory to do good for others. Sorrowfully, another photo posted was the one above, whose realization smacks you in the face that childhood cancer is not rare, is desperately underfunded, and sadly not spoken of enough in our society. It’s a harsh reality, but one that will not be changed by looking the other way or avoiding the topic.

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.

This December, Salon Khouri will be sharing Mathias’ story with our community. We are also donating $1 from every haircut from our Fairfax and Loudoun locations to Team Mathias.

 

Our Community Outreach Partner for August & September: The Truth 365

We cannot say enough good things about the work The Truth 365 is doing in the childhood cancer community. Their beautiful (and Emmy award winning!) documentaries and media campaigns (such as this breathtaking one of Kylie Myers) are bringing awareness to a cause that so desperately needs it. 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 are encouraged by a few amazing breakthroughs in recent weeks. The RACE for Children’s Act became law, which will significantly increase the number of new drugs available to children with cancer as well as increase new research dollars flowing into childhood cancer research. And on August 30, 2017, the FDA approved a groundbreaking CAR T Cell Therapy for kids battling leukemia.

But there is more to do, which is why Salon Khouri will continue to partner with The Truth 365 #UntilChildhoodCancerIsExtinct in honor of Kate, Mathias, AlexGabby, Kyle, Gavin, Chris, Delaney, Casey, Declan, Isabella

We would love for you to spread the word about CureFest, an amazing and FREE childhood cancer event in Washington DC! We will once again be volunteering at the Crazy Hair Day booth! And this year, CureFest has some AMAZING headliners! Sabrina Carpenter, Caly Bevier (Simon Cowell’s Golden Buzzer pick from last year) and World of Dance qualifier Diana Pombo! Please share this page to let people know about the awesome talent lined up for this year and encourage them to join in being a voice for children battling cancer.

SabrinaCarpenter

 

 

We are donating $1 from every haircut from both locations in August and 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

Alex Inspires Strength …

– Jennifer Elkhouri

Last March, we selected Alex’s Army Childhood Cancer Foundation as our March Community Outreach Partner. We shared with you the amazing grit this kiddo had since being diagnosed at age 5 with a Stage IV Wilms Tumor. On June 5th, 2016, we learned the heartbreaking news that Alex had passed after his 7 year battle with cancer. A part of us thinks he was beckoned to heaven by sweet Kate Rhoades for her 5th heavenly birthday so the two could be free, to bask in the glory of our creator — perfectly healed and perfectly whole. Hearing of Alex’s passing was a fierce kick in the gut, learning yet another precious child had lost their battle to the number one disease killer of children — one that is grossly underfunded in research and largely ignored by drug companies.

We love the mission of Alex’s Army Childhood Cancer Foundation and wanted to select them once again to be our Community Outreach Partner. The mission of AACCF is to raise awareness and funding for Childhood Cancer Research while providing Christian focused support to the Childhood Cancer Community. They do this through funding research for The Children’s Oncology Group, raising awareness at events such as Cure Fest, rallies and other events, and through their Prayer Pillowcase Project — handmade pillowcases embroidered with a bible verse that have been prayed over by those who make them.

AlexsArmy

This July, we are donating $1 from every haircut to this unique, local non-profit. We would love to ask for your help, too! We are collecting fabric for AACCF to donate toward their Prayer Pillowcase Project. Please bring 1 yard pieces of a 100% cotton or a soft cotton blend to our Fairfax or Dulles locations this July.

We’ll also be practicing our push ups in the hopes we can once again join AACCF in trying to beat the Guinness World Record for the most people performing push ups at once. On April 8th, 2017, we attended the 1st attempt which had 1,108 people out of the needed 1,645 people to break the record! Why push ups? Hear the beautiful story shared by Jenni Green, Alex’s mom, on WGTS:

 

Ellie’s Hats: Our February Community Outreach Partner

Ellie's HatsEllie’s Hats is a Northern Virginia Non-Profit who seeks to bring joy and help to local families whose children are battling cancer. Ellie’s Hats was inspired by a sweet NoVa girl, Ellie Whitfield, who was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in the Spring of 2013. After losing her hair from chemotherapy, Ellie began to wear different fun hats to school to help express her personality. Her P.E. teacher, Jay Coakley, noticed her affinity for “fun and cheery hats” and organized a hat drive to provide Ellie with a broader selection of hats to wear – and thus was born Ellie’s Hats! Thousands of children across the country now receive new hats through Ellie’s Hats.

In addition to providing joy to kids battling cancer by providing unique, fun hats, Ellie’s Hats collects gift cards and other items to give to local families whose children are battling cancer. Also, in 2014, Ellie’s Hats worked closely with Team Mathias to introduce a Cure Childhood Cancer License Plate in honor of Mathias Giordano to help spread awareness about childhood cancers. Mathias, diagnosed in 2012 with Osteosarcoma, inspired thousands through his determined cheer, his powerful courage and his extreme kindness. Mathias passed after a 28 month battle in December 2014.

We are so honored to partner with Ellie’s Hats by selecting them again as our February Community Outreach Partner. We will be donating $1 from every haircut this February to this amazing, local non-profit. Also, you too can help Ellie’s Hats directly by going to their upcoming fundraiser on March 10th at Blackfinn Ameripub in Ashburn.

ElliesHatsHappyHour

Epic inspiration from a boy named Mathias

by Jennifer Elkhouri

mathiasIf you want to see love, and I mean real love, just take a few minutes to scroll through photos on the Team Mathias Facebook page. I will warn you — there is such beautiful love displayed in these photos that you will be overwhelmed.

Mathias exuded love. Through his smile. Through his heart for others. Even while he himself was battling osteosarcoma, he was always thinking of how to help others and to put others before him. Selfless love.

You will see photos of Mathias’ brother, Troy, and Mathias’ mom and dad, Roya and Chris. And in those photos, you will see the tremendous love they have for each other and Mathias.

In other photos, you will see teams of people jumping into ice cold water for Mathias; hundreds gathering in a field to create a gigantic human yellow-gold ribbon for Mathias, and you will see many photos of breathtaking sunsets shot days after Mathias passed when the evening sky displayed colors that only seem possible in dreams. You will indeed see beautiful displays of love from Mathias, from his family, and from the community that surrounded him during his battle with cancer.

childhood_cancer_plate32You will also see lots of photos scattered throughout of Cure Childhood Cancer license plates — a plate that didn’t exist in Virginia prior to 2015. Mathias wanted so badly to spread awareness about Childhood Cancer and his passion inspired the ‘Mathias Bill’, or HB1319, which created a Cure Childhood Cancer specialty license plate available in Virginia. (Other states are following and creating specialty Childhood Cancer Plates! #Epic!) Roya worked with Jay Coakley of Ellie’s Hats, and Del. Tag Greason (R-32nd), to create the bill in honor of Mathias after Roya learned there was no specialty plate in Virginia for childhood cancer. Upon telling Mathias that there was no specialty plate to spread awareness about the disease he and many other children were battling, Mathias replied, “That can’t be right. Everyone knows what the pink ribbon stands for. We have to get the gold out there, Mom.” Our cars proudly display CC plates and we would love to honor Mathias by asking you to apply for a specialty Cure Childhood Cancer plate for your cars through the DMV. Let’s make the yellow gold ribbon as ubiquitous as the pink ribbon in honor of Mathias and other precious children who have lost their battle to cancer.

Mathias passed on December 7, 2014. I had never met him, but had been following his story on Facebook as our family prayed for him daily. We did little things from afar to support Mathias. I asked our kids if they would like to be a part of the giant gold ribbon mathiasribbongathering in to support Mathias — it was something we felt we could do to show our support and love for him. There was just something about Mathias that grabbed my heart. A lot of these kids do, but Mathias really drew me in. He was the kind of boy I wanted our son to grow to be – kind, loving, trusting in God, and with an excellent sense of humor to boot! Our family was devastated when he passed. I attended Mathias’ funeral and sat next to a group of young girls about Mathias’ age. I wept with them and shared my tissues. My heart was broken to pieces for Mathias’ family — for such a heavy and hard loss. It’s almost been two years and I still think of Mathias almost daily. I smile with joy when I see photos of Mathias. Our littlest yells out, “Mathias!” anytime she spots a Team Mathias bumper sticker, shirt or a CC license plate. I wave at drivers who have CC plates and smile, thinking of what an inspiration Mathias continues to be to so many.

This December, Salon Khouri is donating $1 from every haircut from both our Fairfax and Dulles Landing locations to Team Mathias. Additionally, we are collecting gift cards to donate to Team Mathias for Team Mathias Care Packages. Mathias wanted to create care packages for families of children battling cancer. He especially wanted siblings included! Gift cards from Bed Bath and Beyond, Target, Itunes, and Amazon are perfect for these Care Packages. And, for each gift card you bring to Salon Khouri for donation to a Team Mathias Care Package, we will enter you into a drawing to win a $50 Salon Khouri Gift Certificate as our way of saying thank you. Also, if you have a Cure Childhood Cancer plate, post a photo to our Facebook page to be entered into a drawing to win a customized Kevin Murphy Treat.Me hair treatment and blow dry!

Tattoo Tom vs the Volcano

We are proudly supporting local non-profit, Stillbrave Childhood Cancer Foundation again as our August Community Outreach partner by donating $1 from every haircut in the month of August from both our Fairfax and Dulles Landing locations!

The founder of Stillbrave, Tattoo Tom, is on a mission and we are honored to help. He is battling daily to provide non-medical, supportive care to children with cancer and their families. Stillbrave is committed to helping the families of children battling cancer in any way they can. While they are fighting the toughest war of their lives, Stillbrave will fight their lesser battles, so they don’t have to. To do this, Stillbrave relies on donations from the community, and Tom will do just about anything to help these kids, including auctioning off tattoo sponsorship on his body, to running in 50 mile, 100 mile and 200 mile ultra marathons. What we love the most about Tom, though, is his heart. He falls in love with the kids he supports and will do just about anything to bring a smile to their faces. He suffers when they suffer and celebrates their milestones. Tom knows personally how cancer can rip a parent apart. Cancer stole his daughter, Shayla, from him when she was just 16. Distraught and devastated, Tom thought, “why didn’t someone DO something.” Then he realized, “I am somebody.” Thus was born Stillbrave.tattoos-005

While they are fighting the toughest war of their lives, Stillbrave will fight their lesser battles, so they don’t have to.

On August 12-16, 2016, Tom will be once again participating in an ultra marathon to raise money for Stillbrave families. This one is the Bigfoot 200, a point to point traverse of some of the most wild trails in the Cascade Mountain range of Washington State. The race ends in Randle, WA after crossing the Cascade Mountains from Mount St. Helens to Mt. Adams and along ridge lines with views of volcanoes Mt. Rainier, Mt. Hood, and Mt Adams. It literally is Tattoo Tom vs. The Volcano.

What can you do to help?

  • Sponsor the fundraiser directly via Stillbrave.
  • Visit Salon Khouri the month of August for a haircut and we will donate $1 from every haircut from both locations.
  • Leave donations in the collection jars at Salon Khouri. All money donated will be added to the total as we aim to raise $1000 through our donations and yours.
  • Purchase a RAFFLE ticket – all money will help us reach our $1000 that we have pledged to Stillbrave. Tickets are just $1 and you could win a 60 minute Signature Facial or a haircut and blowdry with one of our amazing and talented stylists — you get to choose the prize! We will draw two winners. The more tickets you purchase, the higher your odds are to win!
  • Like us on Facebook to keep track of pop-up raffles, lemonade stands, etc. that we will be holding to help us reach our $1000 goal.
  • Pray for Tom’s safety as he participates in the Bigfoot 200!

We are here to help spread awareness and raise money for childhood cancer. We believe that our children, your children, deserve #MoreThan4. You see, out of the $4.9 billion dollar budget allocated to the National Cancer Institute, only 4% of that is allocated to childhood cancer research. And, a recent study by the World Health Organization shows a child is diagnosed with cancer every two minutes. Childhood cancer is not rare. Yet, there is very little funding on the pharma side and a minuscule amount of funding on the federal side. Our children deserve more and deserve funding for less toxic treatments. They also need local advocates like Tom, who will fight for them, providing daily essentials to their families helping them through the childhood cancer battlefield.