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Shave and a Haircut — They’re Free!

Volunteer Voice - Summer 2007


If you’re an M. D. Anderson patient, you’re invited to visit the Volunteer Services’ Beauty/Barber Shop where you can get shampoos, scalp treatments, haircuts and shaving services for faces and heads.

Every Monday through Friday, two staff cosmetologists run a full-fledged beauty/barber shop with the help of volunteers Janice Glazer, Venita Graves, Maria Rodriguez and Mary Trentham.

Maria Rodriguez shows off a head covering style available free to M. D. Anderson patients. A former patient herself, Rodriguez enjoys the interaction she has with patients visiting the Beauty/Barber Shop.

The shop does the things that most beauty shops do with a few big differences — all the services are free and there’s no tipping allowed. In addition, patients experiencing hair loss may select one free wig as well as a scarf, turban or hat. Appointments are not necessary — patients are served on a first come, first served basis. If there is adequate staffing in the shop, bedside visits may be arranged for patients unable to come to the shop on their own.

Maria Rodriguez has volunteered in the Beauty/Barber Shop for almost a year. A former patient, she has been anxious to return to M. D. Anderson to give back some of what she received when she was here for treatment, but young children and the illness and ultimate death of her husband got in the way. Finally, she says, it was time to volunteer, but she was dubious about her assignment.

Today, Rodriguez sings a different tune. “I see people going through what I went through,” she says. “When their hair falls out, I say ‘look at me — it grows back.’ When they can’t find a wig that matches their real hair color, I say ‘how about being a blonde for a while — haven’t you always heard that blondes have more fun?.’”

In addition to the normal services offered in the Beauty/Barber Shop, the “Look Good Feel Better” program is offered monthly. Volunteer, Mary Trentham assists volunteer coordinator Latasha Lee in presenting this American Cancer Society program. The instructors show patients how to cleanse skin and apply makeup to enhance their appearance and patients receive a complimentary gift of make-up. Trentham also gives scarf-tying demonstrations three Thursdays each month.

Like many volunteers, Rodriguez believes that M. D. Anderson is a comforting place and she enjoys the work she does in the Beauty/Barber Shop. “It sounds strange to say this,” she says, “but my cancer experience was one of the best times of my life. I’m happy to be back here volunteering.”


© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center