Martino Cartier, owner of the Martino Cartier Salons in Cherry Hill and Washington Township, NJ couldn't believe his luck after Hurricane Sandy. "We closed for one day," he told me when I called to check in on him. "We had minimal power loss, and other than tree branches and debris all over the place, everything was normal."
Also normal was how Martino continues to make dreams come true with "Friends Are By Your Side". The foundation, made up of 500 salons in 6 different countries, provides free wigs (courtesy Hot Heads) to women in need and also makes dreams come true in other ways.
Martino met Kiki Bowley after her mom reached out looking for a wig for 11 year old daughter suffering with stage 4 cancer. "When I met her I asked her if she had a wish. She said 'I would love to meet Justin Beiber'. Although I was able to make that happen several months ago at an album signing in NYC, I felt it could and should be even bigger and more meaningful. When I heard that Justin was coming to Philadelphia for his Believe Tour, I decided this would be the best way to really make her dream come true."
After failed efforts to reach Justin or his team directly, Martino decided he would have to buy a ticket. "I decided to go to an agent. The best I could find cost $5500. A lot of money, but totally worth it for Kiki."
Martin went in to action. After multiple donations from friends, clients, family and a generous donation from "Wet Brush", Martino purchased that ticket to the concert that included a front row seat and a meeting with Justin. "The ticket was worth every penny. I couldn't believe how everyone jumped in to make this dream come true. Ride First Class from NYC sent down a hot pink stretch limo to take Kiki to the concert in style. That driver had to wait hours to get gas [there's little gas to be found in NJ since Sandy closed many stations] and Justin spent extra time with her at the 'Meet and Greet'. It really was a magical night."
If you are interested in participating in Friends Are By Your Side to create more magical nights, Martino would love to hear from you: www.friendsarebyyourside.com
A sad update. Kiki passed away yesterday, Sunday, Nov. 11. Adds Martino, "I was holding her hand. My heart is destroyed." Our thoughts and prayers go out to Kiki's family and friends...and Martino who was able to make her dreams come true.