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Local Salon Teams Up to Support Co-worker

March 21, 2019
Hair stylists have a unique job. Every six weeks or so, a client comes in and is captivated in a chair for at least an hour. That time, inevitably, leads to conversation, sharing about life: the mundane, the joys, the challenges.

So, when Amy Craig found out she had breast cancer six years ago, there was no hiding it from clients. But that's not her personality anyway. The firecracker hairstylist who celebrates 10 years at All About Me Salon & Spa in Towson this year conquered it like anything else – with confidence and a non-negotiable attitude.

"Work wife" and chair-mate, Jenny Tomaszewski, couldn't help but be inspired by her friend's spirit. After the Komen Walk in 2015, Jenny and the salon staff presented Amy with a box, housing a flyer for a golf tournament they would be putting on in her honor.

"For us, we're literally a family," Jenny, general manager of All About Me, said. "You become so close with each other, but you become so close with your clients. They are sitting in your chair, telling you everything and then you are too. From the start, Amy didn't keep it a secret. She told everybody about her diagnosis; she went to radiation every day for six and a half weeks, five days a week and then came to work and was very open about it. It wasn't like a "woe is me" pity party. She was just rocking it."

In October 2018, All About Me, alongside their generous parent company and top sponsor, Lorenz & Company, hosted the third golf tournament in Amy's honor, with all proceeds going to GBMC's Sandra & Malcolm Berman Comprehensive Breast Care Center. They met their goal of $15,000 with 100% support from staff, friends, family and clients.

"Every single foursome and sponsor of our tournament has a tie to All About Me," Jenny said. "We also have amazing support from local businesses who donate gift cards or items to be auctioned off or given as door prizes. But even if they don't know us personally, they still want to be a part of our tournament."

On the very last day before the deadline to meet their $15,000 goal, Amy and Jenny were counting every penny. When they realized they were $64 short, the client sitting in Amy's chair wrote them a check on the spot.

"What does this whole experience mean to me? I find this to be such an overwhelming and humbling question to answer," Amy said. "Mostly because I'm just a regular person and the fact that people want to come together and give so much in honor of me is a really awesome thing!

"When Jenny first came to me with the idea of the golf tournament and donating all the proceeds to GBMC, I was totally on board. I had such an amazing experience at GBMC, every doctor, nurse and tech made everything so easy. To hear that the money we donate goes to women to help them cope with their diagnosis and treatment is truly touching and leaves me a little speechless and totally emotional. In the most amazing way!"

According to Lauren A. Schnaper, MD, FACS, Director of the GBMC Sandra and Malcolm Berman Comprehensive Breast Care Center, and Amy's physician, "One of the hardest things to get insurance coverage for is psychosocial support. We use the donation to help women who are having difficulty coping with the diagnosis of breast cancer and treatment. It is a vital and, often neglected, part of the experience. I can't tell you how much this means to us and our patients."

"Anytime a client came in and told their story – some of them are still secretive and don't talk about it with their own families but they talk about it with Amy," Jenny said. "They also came here to GBMC and Amy could talk about it, even if it was privately."

When Jenny's aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer six months after Amy, she introduced the two of them. Both were patients of Dr. Schnaper's and would pass each other in the parking garage, offering support and encouraging words between appointments. Without realizing it, Amy touches a lot of lives through her experience.

"I couldn't imagine giving the money anywhere else," Jenny said. "If GBMC is where she had all her treatments, this is where she had all the good experience, the good stories, why would we give it somewhere else?"

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