The Herald Bulletin

February 15, 2012

Local hair salon raises money to prevent cancer patient hair loss

By Stuart Hirsch
The Herald Bulletin

ANDERSON, Ind. — The owner of a local hair salon is leading the fundraising to bring an experimental treatment that helps chemotherapy patients keep their hair to Anderson.

A diagnosis of cancer is bad enough, said Medusa Hair Design owner Staci Leons-Parnell, but the prospect of hair loss only makes it worse.

“A lot of times, losing your hair is more devastating than chemotherapy. People who lose their hair don’t feel whole and it doesn’t fall out slowly, it comes out in globs,” Leons-Parnell said.

But a little-known technique that involves cooling the scalp to an extremely low temperature during chemotherapy sessions has helped some women keep their hair.

The theory is that temperatures as low as 20 degrees below zero makes hair follicles dormant and less likely to absorb cancer-killing toxins.

Special caps that cost $1,500 each and a freezer capable of producing ultra-low temperatures, that cost $3.500, are required.

The technique is becoming more widely known because of the work of Shirley Billigmeier, who was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago and used the cold cap therapy.

She created a nonprofit group called the Rapunzel Project to raise both awareness and money.

“It’s our personal goal here at Medusa to get this at Anderson,” said Leons-Parnell. She’s already held one event that raised $600. Tonight’s event in which the Texas Roadhouse restaurant has agreed to donate 10 percent of each diner’s bill to the project is the second.

“As far as I know, we’re the only salon in Indiana that’s doing anything with this. If we can do something and be part of something that improves the lives of cancer patients, we’re there. We’re proud to be a part of that,” she said.

Contact Stuart Hirsch: 640-4861, stu.hirsch@heraldbulletin.com

Rapunzel fundraiser

Medusa Hair Design and Kenra Professional in conjunction with Texas Roadhouse are raising money for the Rapunzel Project  at the restaurant.

From 4 to 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, Texas Roadhouse will donate 10 percent of each bill to the project.