Do you remember your prom night? You had butterflies in your stomach while you got ready. You picked out the perfect dress or tuxedo and got ready for the most exciting night in your young life. For 70 boys and girls, getting ready for prom was particularly special this year. Not because it was a spectacular day in July or because their prom was set against the backdrop of beautiful Rex Lake in Ohio, but because the children going to prom each have been deeply affected by cancer. On this night, cancer took the backseat to dancing, laughter, and music.
The prom was put on by Camp Quality, an all-volunteer organization that serves children with cancer ages 4-18 and their families year-round. Their signature overnight camp is a fun-filled week for children with cancer and their siblings in a medically safe environment. Each camper is paired with an adult companion, who provides one-on-one support throughout the week.
There was an excited buzz as the campers arrived to get ready for prom. The theme this year was Hollywood Party. Three mothers put in an extraordinary effort, lovingly transforming the camp mess hall into a glamorous movie set complete with movie posters, card board cut outs of stars, and even a red carpet. When the children walked in, they picked up their sunglasses at the swag table and then were off to get glammed up for the night.
Twelve artists from Scott Talbot Salonspa, a Redken elite salon with locations in Akron and Canton, Ohio, donated their time. The artists did hair, put on wigs, and did nails and make up for the campers. The stylists even created mohawks for the boys. For these artists, giving their time was critical. “When I come here to work with these kids, I can see very clearly how important it is to find joy in everyday life. Here are children who have been battling cancer for years, and they are the happiest, sweetest kids I’ve met,” said one Redken artist. “It makes me thankful I have a skill that I can share with them and help them feel special, because they deserve it.”
Sounds of laughter filled the room, and as you looked around, it was easy to forget that these children were in the battle of their lives. And that is the point: to give these children a sense of normalcy when their worlds have been overturned by cancer.
Out of the mess hall walked girls in boas and tiaras and boys with mohawks in suits. They lined up shoulder to shoulder to take pictures, all of their faces glowing from the attention and fun. A line of limousines waited to take the campers to an indulgent pre-prom dinner. And then it was a typical prom, not one weighed down by cancer. There was music, there was dancing, and there was happiness. For a night, the campers were able to escape into another world, one in which they were able to be free of the burdens of their daily challenges.
Scott Talbot Salonspa has been working with Camp Quality for 8 years. Earlier this year, it held a fundraiser and raised over $13,000 for the incredible children of Camp Quality. Salon owners Jeff Scott and Shelly Talbot recognize the importance of giving back. “We love working with Camp Quality. I believe we get more than we give,” said Jeff Scott. “Being able to work with the children in this way is special to all of our stylists.”
“These are the best people you never want to meet,” said one child of the volunteers. Scott Talbot Salonspa (www.scotttablotsalonspa.com) invites you to volunteer and get your salon involved with Camp Quality. Please visit www.campqualityusa.org to find your local chapter.
This article was written by Renee Herschberger, a stylist at Scott Talbot Salonspa