Lakeshore News Tonight

Local Salon Says, “Hello, Gorgeous” to Cancer Patient

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December 9, 2013 — The stylists at a Winfield salon prepared for a special client, one in need of more than just a weekly pamper.

“Cancer strips women of their beauty.  It takes their eye lashes, their hair, sometimes their breast.  We at Hello Gorgeous teach them to make it look like they have eye lashes again and eye brows so they don’t look like they’re going through that cancer journey,” said Julene Melendez, an Executive Salon Affiliate Coach with Hello Gorgeous.

Melendez coached staff at A+ Hair Studio through their first Hello Gorgeous experience.  The non-profit endeavor, based in South Bend, offers complementary makeovers to women traveling through the cancer journey.  Anita Melton is one of those women.

Melton, who recently had brain surgery after doctors found a malignant tumor there, was nominated for the surprise head-to-toe makeover by her friend Chris.

“We were going to go shopping.  It wasn’t easy because I talk to her every day.  Not to tell her, that’s not easy,” said Christie Falls.

Afterward Falls hopes her friend feels somewhat like Duchess Kate Middleton.

Falls said of the makeover, “Just like a princess or a queen for the day because every day she’s still a mom, she’s still a wife, she still has to cook, she still has to clean.  This way she can feel fresh and pretty.”

The spa treatment began with a facial.  Then Melton received a pedicure, reflecting on her fight with cancer.

“I had these bizarre headaches.  They were weird and they only lasted 20 seconds.   It would be like if you were hitting your ears and then the pain would shoot through my head and my vision would change around my eye and then it would go away,” said Melton.

The headaches were rare, but enough to send Melton to the neurologist who located a mass in her head.

Melton described the experience.

“They said originally it was the size of a peanut, and by the time they took it out it was the size of an orange.  I was like, ‘Orange like in a cutie, or orange?’  They never did tell me.”

After a manicure,  Melton selected her new outfit courtesy of the women’s clothing store Maurices.

“Their kit that they get to do these makeovers is given to them, but the clothes, the flowers, they do fundraisers throughout the year to pay for those things.  The services they give are completely complementary from the salon,” said Melendez.

Melton said, “I don’t feel it took away any of the inner beauty, but with steroids your face gets really fat and broke out and your hair is gone, which I don’t care about because I think I look like a minion, you know, that new movie?”

Her testimony sprinkled with a little sense of humor gives hope, “I just thought it was a benign lump and they were going to remove it and it would be fine.  It’s still going to be fine.  I don’t want to take any credit for that it was all God.”

Melton’s makeover was complete with hair and makeup, which she gets to take home to continue her beauty experience.

Hello Gorgeous takes nominations for women battling cancer who would benefit from a makeover, at www.hellogorgeous.org.

By Renetta DuBose

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