Medical professionals, community leaders, and cancer patients crowded into a small community room at the hospital to help celebrate what will become a key part of a cancer-treatment regimen.
In a room filled with pink balloons and posters depicting before and after shots of people who received wigs to compensate for hair loss from cancer treatment, officials praised the work of Mo’Hair Foundation Founder and CEO Monique Smith Andrews and said they looked forward to bringing her work to Christ Hospital.
The Mo’Hair Foundation is a Jersey City-based non-profit organization that provides free non-surgical hair replacement for cancer patients and other individuals who have lost their hair as a result of their medical treatment.
The salon was a project a year and half in the planning, said Christ Hospital Chief Hospital Executive Marie Duffy, and the salon will be a benefit to people from Jersey City and Hudson County.
CarePoint Health Chief Executive Officer Dr. Natasha Deckmann and others said people who feel good about themselves tend to heal better. Even some of the professionals knew the experience. One of the social workers is an 8-year survivor who struggled with self-esteem during treatment.
The office and salon is located on the hospital’s third floor, next to the Infusion Center.
Vowing to help people like her mother
Andrews is a professional hairstylist who has received numerous awards for her charity work.
A native of Bayonne, she graduated from Natural Motion Beauty School in 1983 and opened her salon Monique’s Techniques in 1988. She has developed a clientele of celebrities, sports figures, politicians, as well as people in the community. She is considered a master stylist and makeup artist.
The youngest of six children, her mother was diagnosed with cancer when Andrews was still studying to become a hair stylist. She found her mother’s struggle so compelling she vowed to find a way to help others.
Many patients she met were forced to wear bad-fitting and poor looking wigs or cover their heads with scarves. Her mother didn’t seem to have any other viable options while being treated. So Andrews started researching human hair alternatives to wigs and soon plunged into the world of non-surgical hair replacement.
“We are honored to partner with the Mo’Hair Foundation to bring this important service to those individuals who need it most.” – Dr. Natasha Deckmann,
This led to the establishment of the Mo’Hair Foundation to provide services for free to people who cannot afford them.
Since 2009, Andrews has been performing the free temporary hair replacement service and has helped more than 100 people at her business location. She said the opening of a salon at Christ Hospital was a dream come true. She said her mother’s dream was to help cancer victims. She opened the hair replacement salon at Christ Hospital in honor of her mother.
“We are honored to partner with the Mo’Hair Foundation to bring this important service to those individuals who need it most,” said Dr. Natasha Deckmann, chief executive officer for CarePoint Health. “We are constantly working to foster partnerships such as this to help us deliver the highest quality of healthcare to the community as well as added services that improve our patients’ overall experience.”
The new Christ-hospital location offers patients greater access as well as increased privacy, while reaching an even greater population.
“This will help us to do what we do for even more people and have a greater impact,” said Andrews. “One of the best aspects of this is that it is therapeutic for them. And now they won’t have to go too far to receive this service.”
Al Sullivan may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.