Two Texas tweens battling cancer were gifted their very own spa day.
Me2 Beauty Bar, a Houston spa and salon that caters to 11- to 18-year-olds, recently treated two young girls with leukemia to a free spa day. Owner Melynda Dunn partnered with the Houston chapter of Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Family Alliance, a nonprofit that supports families of children with cancer, to provide 12-year-old Peyton and 13-year-old Ellie with a special day of pampering. Below, Dunn explains the woman (and brain!) power behind her event.
What inspired this charitable act?
Young teenagers battling cancer are just like any other 12- and 13-year-olds, and it’s really important to me that they’re treated the same way as their peers. I reached out to a friend who works with Candlelighters to see if she knew any girls who could take advantage of a free spa day, and she found Peyton and Ellie. These are happy, sweet, beautiful girls who are fighting through tough cancer treatments. The two met at Texas Children’s Hospital while they were being treated and have become close friends. They’re going through their cancer journeys together, which we thought was special.
What preparations did you and your staff make?
Ellie and Peyton were both undergoing treatment when they came to our spa, and the nurses helping to care for them wanted to be sure we understood the underlying threat of an infection to their overall health. We made sure that we didn’t cut their cuticles, for instance, because we didn’t want to take any risks. The only—but very important—preparatory work I needed to do involved talking to my staff about how delicate these girls were.
What did the day entail?
Chemotherapy can be very harsh on the hair, and the girls’ hair was just starting to grow back, so we stuck to performing nail, makeup and facial services to help Ellie and Peyton feel super special. They really enjoyed their facials—we started with a steaming, and then we put on a face mask by high-end, plant-based botanical line Yon-Ka. We don’t skimp on quality just because we’re treating teens and tweens! On the day itself, we remained open to the public and had five or six employees staffing the spa.
What was the day’s most memorable moment?
We invited a local reporter for Channel 13 to come and record the event. When she asked the girls how they felt about their experience, Ellie said, “I felt really pretty today.” Between me and my employees there was barely a dry eye in the spa. It was such a sweet comment, and so rewarding for us to know we touched the girls’ lives that day. Both moms were very thankful and joyful that their daughters, who have been through so much, were getting some special pampering.
How do philanthropic events benefit your business?
I believe that any time you give back to your community it’s rewarding in and of itself. It’s such a great concept to think that if we benefit the community as a spa, we not only positively impact the girls with whom we’re working directly, but these uplifting vibes can also ripple into our client base and the city of Houston. We didn’t advertise the spa day ahead of time because we didn’t want the spotlight on us the day of the event; we wanted the girls to really sit back and enjoy it. There was press afterward, and we were featured not only on the local news but also on ABC News in Houston. Since that day, we’ve actually had people call for appointments because they saw us on TV.
Why do you think giving back is important within the beauty industry?
I thought it would be so rewarding for our teen and tween demographic to see that a salon they frequent has a philanthropic arm. Doing something like this creates awareness throughout the community that there are people dealing with challenges such as childhood cancer. Seeing people give back just makes everybody feel good. It provides a human touch and supports our city’s residents. I don’t think there’s any greater reward.
Do you plan to host future events, or work with Candelighters going forward?
The nonprofit also hosts a sleepaway camp for kids with cancer and their families, and this past summer Me2 Beauty Bar presented Candlelighters with a check that will enable three children and their loved ones to participate in the program. These kids have a great opportunity to bond with other young cancer patients, and their families can connect with parents and siblings overcoming similar challenges. It’s such a wonderful event, and we were very enthusiastic about helping several cancer survivors participate.
– By Leslie Lang