Sue Mello has been cutting hair for 20 years and when her 8-year-old stepdaughter was diagnosed with aplastic anemia and lost her hair from chemotherapy, she realized how hair becomes our security; without it, part of our identity is lost.
She recalled lightening Amy Lynn’s spirits in the hospital when reassuring her that when she left the hospital, they would find her a wig she wanted and joked about what color hair she would choose.
That never happened. Amy Lynn died at age 12.
Ever since, Sue Mello, owner and hairstylist of Allure Salon, has felt compelled to help children in need. She has styled the hair for young clients who have lost hair because of medical treatments.
In the nine years she has operated her salon, she has hosted a few cut-a-thons, but this year she decided to make it the biggest one yet with a block party at their location, 1171 Main Ave.
The salon’s block party will offer “free and blunt haircuts” to donate to the Children With Hair Loss (CWHL) organization on Aug. 24 to recognize kids who suffer from hair loss as a result of a disease.
“One hundred percent of everything we do or sell will go to CWHL that day,” said Mello
Mello’s son, Cliff Choiniere IV, is manager at Allure and has taken on the majority of the planning for the event. He said Stop & Shop would provide food for the cookout. Businesses in the plaza are also contributing.
“We will take any type of eight-inch hair that is not damaged,” said Mello.
They said they mainly expect women to donate but are also offering a “buzz-a-thon” for men at $10. This money will also be sent to CWHL. The salon paired with Pizzeria Uno that will gift $5 to those who participate in the event, and once receipts reach $1,000 they will donate 15 percent of the total to CWHL. If they surpass that amount from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. that day, they will up their donation to 20 percent.
“Having decent hair as a child, I can’t understand what it’d be like to grow up without it,” said Choiniere.
The salon will have four hairstylists and three assistants that day along with students from Toni & Guy Hairdressing Academy shampooing the donors.
CWHL was established in 2000 to provide human hair wigs to children at no cost. According to their website, they provide hair replacements for children with alopecia, burns, trichotillomania and other rare diseases and disorders. They send wigs and hair kits to over 300 children a year. Mello supports and favors this organization above others because she said they are a non-profit group that does this for the right reasons.
As cited in their brochure, “three million kids suffer from alopecia in the United States,” and “Children’s hair loss is responsible for approximately 3 percent of all pediatric office visits in the U.S.”
August is National Hair Loss Awareness Month, which is why Mello decided on this date. She hopes for a large turnout and would like to make it an annual event in the future.
The event will be Aug. 24 from 12 to 5 p.m., rain or shine.