Lisa McClellan is in the business of improving people's appearances at her business, Salon Source 2000, 458 W. Market Street. During breast cancer awareness month, she is to dedicate her craft to a larger cause by hosting a "cutathon" 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 19. Proceeds are to benefit Financial Assistance for Cancer Treatment.
"Hopefully, we'll have a line out the door," McClellan said.
The stylist has a special reason for staging a cancer benefit. Her sister Gayla Griffin died of breast cancer March 10, about four months before her 46th birthday.
"She discovered a lump in her breast and found out she had breast cancer the day before Christmas in 2009. She started chemotherapy in January 2010," McClellan said.
Family members and many friends drove Gayla to the James Cancer Center in Columbus, where she had surgery and radiation. For a few months, Gayla was cancer-free. Then early this year, tumors were detected in the other breast. From there, it spread quickly, with deadly results. She left behind two daughters, Erin and Avery, and had to miss the birth of her first grandchild.
McClellan said she had contemplated a cutathon last year while Gayla was in remission. Now it will serve as a memorial. She knows of no other fundraiser of this kind in the area.
The loss of her sister was devastating to McClellan.
"A lot of people deal with this in their own way, but I guess ... when you lose somebody, there's no closure and you don't get over it. Time passes, but the pain still exists. So this is my way of dealing with it," McClellan said. "I think, unless it affects people (personally), they don't understand. ... I just want people to understand, you don't get over it. You don't get past it, but you do move on. It's just hard."
McClellan said FACT received many memorials in Gayla's name. In addition, McClellan emphasized her livelihood depends on local residents coming to her shop for services, so she wants the funds be used for Seneca County cancer patients.
"It's important to me to keep all the money in the community and give back in that way."
To prepare for the benefit, McClellan sent letters to area salons, inviting their stylists to offer some time during that day to give haircuts and donate the proceeds to cancer. She had an immediate response from SC Salon in downtown Tiffin. Owner Erica Meier wanted to participate because FACT had helped her family when her husband Brad was in treatment for leukemia seven years ago.
"They really needed the help, and FACT helped them," McClellan said. "She is going to be joining me on that Wednesday, as well as another girl that works with her. .... They will be coming here cutting hair for me 8:30-noon."
Another stylist, Sue Reidy, is to cut hair from noon to 4 p.m. McClellan and her crew are to work on a walk-in basis with no appointments accepted that day. The event is open to the public and not limited to the stylists' regular customers. Clients will receive a shampoo and cut with no setting, styling or drying. A minimum donation of $15 is requested from each person.
"People will come and sign in and we will take them the order in which they arrive," McClellan said.
Reineke Ford has donated 100 Ford Cares Warriors in Pink bandanas. Each haircut client can take home a bandana, or the scarves may be purchased for $15. McClellan also has available for purchase Pink Hair for Hope clip-in feather extensions for a $20 donation. These are to be available all month until sold out. L&M Screen Printing is donating T-shirts, designed especially for the cutathon, which can be purchased for $20 each. The shop also is to accept donations for FACT all month.
Anyone making a contribution of any kind is to have his or her name entered in a drawing that is to take place at the end of October. The prizes, which are on display at Salon Source 2000, include: a special edition for breast cancer awareness Freestyle Styling flat iron comb and balance wrist band; a 30-minute body massage by Cary Feasel; a pink gauze scarf; a shellac nail polish service; a colorful clutch purse and wallets; gift certificates for services; and various salon products.
"Anyone making a donation can also enter in the drawing the name of anyone they know of who is battling breast cancer or who has survived breast cancer. Those people don't have to come in here and do anything to be entered in the drawing," McClellan said.
The day of the cutathon, Erin Kisabeth, one of Gayla's daughters, is to serve as receptionist. McClellan is appreciative of the many people who already have contributed to her efforts. She wants to make the cutathon an annual event.
"Every October from now on, I'm going to be doing this ... and my hope is the salons will put aside their competition for one day out of October every year and come together as a community of professionals and do what we do for breast cancer," McClellan said. "If I have my way, my chairs in here will be so full that we're going to have to bring in more chairs for more stylists, and we will be cutting hair for more than just one day in October for a huge event that's going to be smokin.'"
Parking is limited, but cutathon participant can park across Market Street in the former hospital lot. For more information, call the shop at (419) 447-2030.