Raising money for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation is something the staff of Impressions Salon takes personally.
"Four people in our organization — including me — have had breast cancer," said Jami Ndoye, manager of the salon at 5728 Union Mill Road in Clifton's Colonnade Shopping Center, near Outback Steakhouse. "It's a charity that's really close to our hearts."
Accordingly, in conjunction with national Breast Cancer Awareness Week, Oct. 14-18, Impressions will hold a Customer Appreciation Week in which it will offer special promotions and donate the proceeds from them to the Komen foundation. (Hours are Tuesday-Friday, 9 a.m.-8 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; call 703-378-4247).
"All year long, we participate in the Locks of Love program [for children needing wigs after chemotherapy] but, this week, we'll cut people's hair for that, for free," said Ndoye. "As long as we can get it into a ponytail, we can use it."
The salon will make $10 donations to the foundation for all wet cuts (no styling). "These haircuts are normally $25, but we'll only charge $10 for them and donate the money to the foundation," said Ndoye. Manicures that normally cost $21 will cost just $5 — which will be contributed to the charity. And, said Ndoye, "We'll also do complimentary paraffin dips and hand massages."
Impressions will hold daily drawings, that week, for products and services. Then on Saturday, Oct. 18, it'll hold a special drawing for a basket of $100 worth of hair-care products and equipment, including items such as shampoo, conditioner, a blow dryer and a curling iron. Refreshments will also be available that day.
Brochures and information about cancer symptoms and treatment will be available, and the salon will also be donating some wigs and accessories to the American Cancer Society in Vienna. "We've done some smaller things in the past," said Ndoye. "But we're really going all out, this year."
Impressions has been in the Colonnade almost four years and is part of a chain, with 12 locations in Virginia. Tragically, though, cancer has struck four of its employees. "In April will be my five-year anniversary," said Ndoye, 41. "I was diagnosed in April 1999, and a stylist at our Herndon store was diagnosed, later that year."
Also diagnosed that year was a shampoo technician in the salon's Manassas location. "Unfortunately, she didn't survive — we lost her in 1999," said Ndoye. "And one of our receptionists in Manassas was diagnosed in 2000."
"All four of us had breast cancer," she said. And that's why it's so important to Impressions to help raise money for the Komen foundation. Said Ndoye: "It's a cause that's really close to our hearts."
After doctors discovered Ndoye's cancer, she underwent eight months of chemotherapy and eight weeks of radiation. She took a year's leave of absence from her job and went home to St. Louis with her son, then 14.
"The salon helped with my insurance and held fund-raisers for me," she said. "This is an awesome company to work for. It was really overwhelming — they went all out to make sure me and my son were taken care of."
Ndoye returned in February 2000 and went back to work. "I'm doing good now," she said. "And we're a cancer-friendly salon, so people [who've lost their hair because of chemotherapy] can take off their head scarves here and feel OK. We've had relatives and clients with it, so we know what to expect and we're used to it."
Sometimes, she said, cancer patients "feel ugly and yucky and might want to just come in and have a shampoo or a head massage. We can cut and style wigs, and we have people who'd do their makeup so they feel better about themselves."
As for the fund-raiser, said Ndoye, "Every little bit helps. If they want, people can also just drop by the salon and make a donation to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. It helps people with cancer in the local area."