Stan’s Story

We selected to partner again with The Lamb Center as our community outreach partner for the month of December. We will be donating $1 from every haircut the month of December to The Lamb Center and hope that you will take a moment to learn more about the many wonderful things they do for the homeless in Fairfax. Yes, Fairfax.

Hearing the many stories of the lives they help, right here in our neighborhood, is truly amazing and heartwarming.

The recent story of Stan on the Lamb Center blog tells of an older, neatly dressed gentleman standing at the door of the Lamb Center. Stan shared, “I’d say I’m struggling now. I guess I’ve been struggling for a long time. But I’ve managed to stay out of places like this no matter how bad things got, because I hate to ask for help. But I guess things are bad enough now that I am ready to ask.”

Stan had worked as a skilled tradesman for years, raised two children single-handedly when his wife left him, and put both of them through college. When he got laid off several years ago and couldn’t find work, Stan started his own business. He usually managed to make ends meet, getting new business through word of mouth.

Stan went on to share, “My real problem is food. I don’t have enough to eat. I mostly eat Ramen noodles, because I can warm the water in my shed. But I don’t get enough protein, and I get weak during the day.”

As the blog post says, it is truly heartbreaking to know that there are many suffering from hunger right in the midst of the great wealth in Fairfax!

We encourage you to read Stan’s entire story on The Lamb Center blog.

We won’t give up …

For those of our friends that have been Salon Khouri enthusiasts for a few years, you know our passion and the story and names behind our passion for childhood cancer awareness. This past year has seen tremendous strides being made, but there is still a lot of work to do. Here are a few stats borrowed from our friends at The Truth 365:

  • Cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children and adolescents in the United States. (Source: National Cancer Institute)
  • One out of every 300 males and one out of every 333 females in America will develop cancer before their 20th birthday. (Source: American Society of Clinical Oncology)
  • More than 40,000 children undergo treatment for cancer each year. (Source: CureSearch)
  • Approximately 20 percent of all children with cancer will die for their disease, a secondary cancer,  or complications from treatment. (National Cancer Institute)
  • Incidence of invasive pediatric cancers is up 29% in the past 20 years. (Source: National Cancer Institute)
  • In the last 20 years, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved only two pediatric cancer drugs—Clolar (clofarabine) and Erwinaze (asparaginase Erwinia chrysanthemi)—that were initially studied in children. Other drugs for children’s cancers were first studied in or approved for adults with cancer. (American Association for Cancer Research)
  • Cancer treatments can affect a child’s growth, fertility, and endocrine system. Child survivors may be permanently immunologically suppressed. (Source: National Cancer Institute)

There are more facts, but reading just these few is hard enough. And that’s sort of the predicament these children are in. Childhood cancer is scary. It’s not easy to look at, and it’s certainly not easy to see photos of children battling the disease. Finding a way to rally in a positive way is often difficult, particularly when a child is terminal. And that’s why we chose to support this cause more than once last year and again this year. We feel more people need to know the truth about childhood cancers. Many times, it’s the parents of the children fighting who are out raising awareness. That’s just not fair to them. They have such a heavy load — it is our responsibility to pick up the banner and march on their behalf.

If you think childhood cancer is rare, think again. As we mentioned in our September 2013 blog post, we know at least eight children in our immediate circle of friends who have been diagnosed with a form of childhood cancer. Ava Buhr, the daughter of a long-time Salon Khouri client, was diagnosed with Pre-B Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia when she was just two and a half years old. After two and a half years of chemotherapy — yes two and a half years — we got to cheer as Ava celebrated her last day of chemotherapy! You can read more about Ava here

Left: Ava after being diagnosed. Right: Ava on her LAST day of chemo!!

Left: Ava after being diagnosed. Right: Ava on her LAST day of chemo!!

Then, just last year, we received heartbreaking news that a long-time family friend’s daughter, Kate Rhoades, was diagnosed at just two and a half years of age with high risk, Pre-B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia — just like Ava. You can read more about Kate’s story here. The survival rates for ALL are great — which is the good news. However, Kate, just like Ava, will still have to endure a grueling two and a half years of chemotherapy. That’s a lot of pokes, a lot of nausea, a lot of just not feeling well at all. Probably one of the most difficult introductions I’ve ever had to make in my life was introducing Kate’s mom to Ava’s mom. Happy introductions would be something in the realm of, “both your daughters love Hello Kitty — I thought I’d introduce you!” Instead, it was, “Lindsay, let me introduce you to Jeannie. Her daughter was also diagnosed with ALL at two and a half years old and she can hopefully answer some questions for you.” 

On the left, Kate after being diagnosed checking out the "tubies" that will be implanted in her port so that chemo can be given with less "pokes".  On the right, Kate having a particularly bad chemo week. Blankies and iPad time were all she was up for doing that week.

On the left, Kate after being diagnosed checking out the “tubies” that will be implanted in her port so that chemo can be administered. On the right, Kate having a particularly bad chemo week. Blankies and iPad time were all she was up for doing that week.

We will continue to raise awareness for these little cuties. And we will continue to raise awareness for those we lost to this awful disease just this past year: Talia Joy Castellano, Zach Sobiech, Chase Johnson, and two local children, Gabriella Miller and Gavin Rupp. Each time we hear another child has lost their battle, our heart is filled with a heavy sadness. It is then filled with anger — anger that pediatric cancer is given such little funding compared to adult cancers, and anger that childhood cancers have risen 29% in the past 20 years and it’s not a headline story on every news channel.

As a little ol’ hair salon in Fairfax, VA, we are just trying to help in any way we can. Spread awareness, raise a little money, and hopefully, inspire others to learn more about childhood cancer and what they can do to help. One easy thing everyone can do is to sign the petition at The Truth 365 asking Congress to make childhood cancer research a national priority. You could follow Kate and Ava’s stories, volunteer at Cure Fest this September, or just simply pray for these kids. We will continue to pray daily for these little ones. Also, this May, Salon Khouri will donate $1 from each haircut to the dream team of pediatric oncologists working hard to find a cure via The Truth 365.

Our August Community Outreach: Autism Speaks

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and autism are both general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. They include autistic disorder, Rett syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) and Asperger syndrome. An estimated 1 out of 54 boys and 1 in 252 girls are diagnosed with autism in the United States each year.

Jonathan and I have several friends whose children have been diagnosed. Having witnessed their diagnosis as an outsider, we’ve seen the grieving stages the parents go through as they grapple through denial, anger, bargaining, depression, then ultimately acceptance with the disorder. We are oftentimes at a loss with what to say or how to help. It’s frustrating for everyone not knowing the true cause of the disorder. It makes parents question every little thing of the child’s past, all the way to conception, which leaves parents’ minds on an eternal treadmill of questioning thoughts — which for anyone can be exhausting. What we do know about children with autism spectrum disorder is that they are each amazingly gifted and unique. We know they are loved very deeply by their friends and family, even though it may seem at times that these same family and friends are exasperated. The truth is autism is exasperating. It’s also, at times, wonderfully incredible. As our friend said of her sweet, adorable son, “He teaches us something new about ourselves and about the truly important elements of life.”

We’d love for you to take a moment to browse through the Autism Speaks website. For the month of August, Salon Khouri is donating $1 from every haircut to Autism Speaks.