Shannon was mourning the loss of her husband to cancer when she saw a Seattle Cancer Care Alliance flyer recruiting cosmetology/barber volunteers. Her imagination sparked. With 33 years of hair styling experience under her belt, Shannon knew she had something to offer.
“It just showed up in my life and I had the time to do it,” she says. “I wanted to do something after my husband passed away. This was perfect, really.”
Cosmetology/barber volunteers at SCCA provide head shaves, head massages, wig consultations, and wig fittings in a private space at the Shine retail store at the SCCA House.
Shannon has “buzzed” patients as young as 21 years old. She is moved by the inner strength of her clients. “I really feel like it is an honor for me to do this work,” she says. “What blows me away about people in the beginning stage of treatment is their strength.”
Shannon has learned a lot about people as patients and about life. “There’s something about people who are going through something like that [cancer treatment]. There’s a renewed attitude; an awareness about life in general. Life is for living and love. There is an attitude of more respect toward life. They are not taking life for granted anymore,” she says. “They all kind of touch me in a way. They have the will to fight. They have the energy.”
Shannon wants her SCCA clients to feel that “cutting their hair is the least of their worries.” Shannon is a sojourner, a listener, and a kind person. She has laughed with clients, sat with them like friends, comforted them as they cried – all while cutting their hair. “I have had the honor of giving patients a haircut, and to hear their story.”
SCCA has monthly volunteer orientations. The volunteer application is available on our website or contact volunteer coordinator, Susan Greenwood, at (206) 288-1072. For more about Shine, visit their web page or Facebook page.