Hairstylist Offers Heart-felt Help To Cancer Patients

Published: Jun. 6, 2007 at 2:35 PM HST|Updated: Jun. 7, 2007 at 5:51 AM HST
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Henry "Hanalei" Ramirez
Henry "Hanalei" Ramirez

By Marvin Buenconsejo

HONOLULU (KHNL) - It's usually hard to tell when a person has cancer.

But, it's easy to tell when someone is undergoing chemo-therapy.

Patients lose virtually all of their hair.  And with the hair, typically goes their dignity.

But one Honolulu salon owner has spent the past four years restoring patients' self-esteem as his "Random Act of Kindness".

Most folks take the casual trip to the barber or hair salon, for granted.  Hopping out of the chair can be refreshing, reinvigorating.

But chemo-therapy robs its patients of this simple comfort.

''Most of them come in after their first chemo, their second chemo. They're losing their hair. It's devastating," says Henry "Hanalei" Ramirez, owner of Salon 808, at Ala Moana.

He continues to offer free styling, and low-cost, professionally-styled wigs to patients who have lost their hair.

Ramirez, keeps three spots open for them, every weekday.  He is always booked.

"One client wanted to hold on to her hair until her son's wedding. But, apparently it didn't happen. Her hair fell out. Her wig gave her such confidence and she felt rejuvenated again," says Ramirez. "It was heart-warming."

Michael Chapman has lived through the pain and heartache.

She is a breast cancer survivor.

''I am just so grateful that he is providing this service," says Chapman. "When your hair falls out, you look in the mirror and it's not you you're looking at, it's a sick person."

Ramirez adds, "I realize how blessed I've been in my life and the people around me that we're able to create something like this for someone else happiness."

Happiness, at the rate of some 700 patients a year.