Archive for August, 2008


Sunday, August 10th, 2008

A fundraising benefit for Dawn Stafford

Purpose: To raise funds for Dawn Stafford and create awareness about the need for those in the service industry to take care of themselves as much as they care for everyone around them.

Six months ago, a dynamic fireball of a coiffure in stilettos named Dawn Stafford started having headaches. This didn’t slow her down—she still maintained a full clientele at Byu-ti Hair Therapy in Santa Monica – California, flying back to Indiana to take care of her flock there as well. And a loyal flock she has. Educated to be a Practitioner in the Agape movement, she somehow manages to bring life’s truths to an everyday french twist. Always one to expand and grow, Dawn had also been focusing on developing her interior design business, as well as creating DIY beauty classes and videos.

But her headaches got worse.

No one tells you when you are in beauty school, or when you are hustling your first few years and living on tips, that if you get sick, you don’t get paid. When you file for your license with the state, they do not offer you medical benefits. In fact, as an independent contractor, or freelance stylist, you are completely responsible for your own well being, not to mention retirement and sick leave. And Dawn was on top of her game! She was aware and wise to her financial situation, saving money towards goals, planning her next few chapters in life. Except, her painful headaches were getting in the way.

Finally, at the urging of her friends and family, Dawn sought out medical attention. Her minimal insurance coverage did not cover her medical needs, so she dragged her feet about shelling out the several thousand dollars the proper exams would have cost until a few headaches got so bad she had to be admitted to the emergency room.

The first MRI showed a 7cm growth in the language section of her brain. No wonder she was at a loss for words as of late! Always the positive force, she continued styling her clients— never willing to concede to everyone’s darkest worries. Upon her doctor’s urgent recommendation Dawn walked herself into the ULCA medical center for brain surgery, freshly waxed, manicured, and colored, in a little black cocktail dress and heels. She told her salon and her salon guests that she would be back in a just a few weeks.

Phones rang all over this country for almost 9 hours while she was in surgery. If there had been a map with a light for each prayer the whole country would have been aglow. Dawn’s reach went from New Hampshire to Mexico to the east-coast to west-coast. Quite the character, people that had only met Dawn once, or knew her through others started to pour in cards and phone calls along with all of her loved ones. The whole world seemed to hold it’s breath.

Now in the wake of such an intensive surgery, Dawn faces a year of treatment and grapples with understanding words like Stage Three Cancer. After shaving her always perfectly coiffed hair, she is appreciating earrings again. She is gathering her mental fortitude. She is wondering about things like continued medical coverage, and what she will do while she is unable to work. She is turning the page on a chapter in her life that she didn’t expect.

A career in the beauty industry can be a beautiful, passionate, wild ride. As a stylist one has the potential to make monumental impacts on the daily lives of others. It’s not just about making people look good, it’s about making people feel good as most great stylists know. At this, Dawn was an absolute expert.

We ask questions like, would having better medical insurance and getting the attention she needed earlier have made a difference? We won’t know. We can’t know. But we do know that there is probably a Dawn in your life. Some golden hearted fireball that would heal the world before thinking of themselves. Please help us keep a light burning for Dawn and give back to a person who has always given so much to the world around her.

Join us for a fundraising CUT-A-THON and LOUNGE: Heel Up at Byu-ti Hair Therapy Sunday night, August 17th from 6pm to midnight. Receive a haircut, get a sole-mate reading by shoe-ologist Donna Sozio [], enjoy music by DJ Pelau [] and an open bar sponsored by Red Bull. A $10 door charge will let you enjoy the entertainment, and go towards a haircut if you so choose. Learn more about what you can do to protect yourself and your family in the Tonik Healthcare lounge. Haircuts will be on a first come first service basis. Great raffle prizes will be given out hourly such as Redken and Pureology gift baskets, Byu-ti Hair Therapy gift certificates, Sonki Fitness Session (5 week bootcamp) and many others.

More info on Operation Heel Up and to make on-going donations please visit