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New Scotland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, October 8, 2009

Helping in the fight against breast cancer one pink hair at a time

By Melissa Hale-Spencer

VOORHEESVILLE — Hair salons are intimate places, where women often talk freely about what is on their minds. The Purity salon in Voorheesville is no exception.

“It’s definitely comfortable here,” said Amanda Scalzo who owns the salon and also works there as a stylist. “We have clients whose hair we’ve been doing for four or five years.

“Two of my clients had breast cancer,” said Scalzo.  “And so did one of Shannon’s,” she said of Shannon Williams, a stylist at Purity.

“When they have thick hair and it starts falling out, it really hits home,” said Scalzo. “There’s no way you can’t be affected by it.”

Scalzo decided to do something about it. Since October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Purity is offering pink hair extensions for $10, with half of all proceeds being donated to the American Cancer Society.

Pink is the color representative of the fight against breast cancer. The hair extensions, explains Scalzo, are made from 100 strands of human hair applied with natural keratin glue. “It’s in your hair normally,” she said.

Customers can choose between a pale pink and a hot pink extension.

Last week, Kelsey McMillen, the 9-year-old granddaughter of one of Scalzo’s clients, had a hot-pink hair extension put in. Her grandmother is a breast cancer survivor.  “She had breast cancer and said she had a lot of support,” said Scalzo. “Her granddaughter wanted to do this.”

Scalzo went on, “The younger girls may think it’s cool to get a pink extension, but, when they’re here, they’ll pick up literature. And they come with their mothers, and they’ll talk about it,” said Scalzo.

Scalzo quotes from some of the American Cancer Society pamphlets she has in her salon. “One in eight women will get breast cancer,” she said. “It’s really high and some people don’t realize it.”

Breast cancer death rates are declining, probably because of finding the cancer earlier and getting improved treatment, the society says. Monthly self-breast exams are important, as are annual mammograms.

“All women can get breast cancer, even those with no family history of the disease,” said Scalzo.

“We wanted to get the word out,” she went on. “We hope people will participate and tell a friend.”

“Scalzo’s goal is to raise $1,000 or more to donate to the local chapter of the American Cancer Society.

“The money actually goes to people in the area,” she said. “They use it to pick up people if they can’t drive to get to chemo, or to pay for wigs.”

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