Stephanie Jones has seen the effects breast cancer can have on a person — her mother was diagnosed with it two years ago and two of her clients at Studio Ten31, a Baldwin beauty salon that she owns, have died from the disease. “People don’t realize the pain involved in chemotherapy and radiation,” Jones said. “The mental, the emotional stress of a woman losing her hair … to this disease is terrible.”
According to the state Cancer Registry, there were 168 reported cases of female breast cancer in Baldwin from 2010-14. Jones wanted to give some of those survivors, and those from surrounding communities, a day to feel good about themselves.
So for one day, the stylists at Studio Ten31 and other Baldwin businesses provided a day of free beauty treatments to breast cancer survivors. “We’re in the business of making people feel beautiful from the inside to the out anyway,” stylist Rayvona Alicea said.
Women were able to receive makeup services from Woodbury-based Vera Moore Cosmetics and Make Up Your Life Salon, located on Grand Avenue. Garden City-based ANOZ Spa Boutique provided mini-massages to the women.
“It is great,” said Bernice Smith, a Hempstead resident who was declared cancer-free in December 2017 and was getting her makeup done. “I feel blessed that God has blessed me to be able to share my story, and I hope God continues to bless them.”
Studio Ten31 — which has been on Grand Avenue for six years — is no stranger to hosting community events, Alicea said, but this is the first time they have done something for cancer survivors. “We’re trying to give back more to the community,” she said. For her, the event was a place to celebrate survivors’ stories in addition to making them feel beautiful.
“We want to congratulate them for getting through those tough times,” Alicea said, “and being able to surpass what they’ve been through to get where they are now.”
Vera Moore, owner of Vera Moore Cosmetics, has seen her family members diagnosed with cancer. She said she immediately agreed to help out at the event, saying it was important to give survivors a chance to tell their stories.
Breast cancer is often seen as a dire sentence, Smith said. She said it should not be seen that way. “It’s a word,” she said. “You can survive.”
Smith was first diagnosed with breast cancer in July of 2011 and has been re-diagnosed three times. Each time, she has refused to let her spirit fade. “There are options that will always be open to you,” she said.
Jones and the rest of the women at Studio Ten31 hope to hold the event every year and improve on it. “This is something we’re going to be doing annually,” Jones said. “We’re going to be doing it on a larger scale, too.”