This Houston hairstylist is on a mission to empower breast cancer patients

She’s rebuilding self-confidence one free wig at a time

HOUSTON – October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and what better time to highlight the work that a local hairstylist has been doing to assist patients dealing with hair loss during treatment.

Her name is Venita Graves, founder of the nonprofit organization Beauty Beyond Breast Cancer, and she talked to Houston Life about what led her to this special project.

Venita Graves
Venita Graves (Beauty Beyond Breast Cancer)

“17 years ago, I was doing my self-exam and I found a lump. I went straight in to get my exam and all of that. I lost my hair to cancer treatment. An as a salon owner and as a hairstylist, I had the hardest time finding beautiful wigs for me, and that’s how Beauty Beyond Breast cancer came to play,” said Graves about her charity that provides free wigs to women who have lost their hair due to chemotherapy or radiation.

Venita Graves styling a wig for a cancer survivor
Venita Graves styling a wig for a cancer survivor (Beauty Beyond Breast Cancer)

"We fit it, shape it, style it, we cut it. We do everything that’s needed to make them feel like they just left the salon. We lift their esteem, motivate them and inspire them to feel that (there’s) beauty beyond breast cancer. We pray with our patients, and we share testimonies and we do a wonderful, wonderful job, " said Graves, who will give women as many wigs as they need, since the nonprofit has an abundance of new styles that people kindly donate to them.

Wig selection at Beauty Beyond Breast Cancer
Wig selection at Beauty Beyond Breast Cancer (Beauty Beyond Breast Cancer)

“They have to be brand new because of the sensitivity of the patient’s scalp, we want to make sure that we always have new wigs for them to try on,” she said.

The effect is an unforgettable experience for cancer patients and survivors.

“How we make them feel. That is what they remember more than anything, along with having a beautiful wig. When you lose your hair, it does something to your self-esteem. When we give our ladies something, a look that they love, a new color, a new cut or new style, it just brings the whole different ball game to how they feel about their hair and how they look. It’s a great feeling,” she said.

Survivor at Beauty Beyond Breast Cancer
Survivor at Beauty Beyond Breast Cancer (Beauty Beyond Breast Cancer)

“We also teach them how to do their eyebrows, how to wear their lashes and all of that so it makes them feel really good. Kind of puts them back to normal, you know. So, they can get up and face the world and take care of their family and not have that fear or that uncomfortable feeling of not having any hair and what to do. It’s an awesome feeling,” said Graves, who received chemotherapy treatment for seven months but is now in remission.

To see her complete interview, watch the video above.

To donate or to connect with Beauty Beyond Breast Cancer, click here.

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