CORBIN — "I believe women especially, of any age, your hair is a big part of your identity," said Emily Rose, Kenra Professional Brand Ambassador and cosmetologist at Salon Envy.

In 2010, two breast cancer survivors came up with the idea for The Rapunzel Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping chemotherapy patients keep their own hair during and after treatments with breakthrough technology called "Cold Cap Therapy."

According to rapunzelproject.org, Cold Cap Therapy, otherwise known as modern-day scalp cooling, involves the use of special caps that are cooled to very cold temperatures and worn for a period of hours before, during and after each chemotherapy treatment.

These cold temperatures are said to help reduce the amount of chemotherapy drug that reaches the hair follicles, thus keeping a patient's hair from falling out.

Rose said she learned of The Rapunzel Project during her first week in training as a Kenra Professional Brand Ambassador.

"I didn't realize what a big partner they were with The Rapunzel Project but in our very first week of training they really stressed to us what a big deal this was to them," said Rose.  

Rose said that this year would have made the sixth year Salon Envy held its Christmas Open House but instead, the salon will be teaming up with Kenra Professional Brand to replace the open house with a fundraiser for The Rapunzel Project.

"I don't know anybody that hasn't been affected by cancer in some form or fashion, so I think when you hear the word 'cancer' you're ready and willing to jump in and do what you need to do," said Rose. "I think it hits home with hairdressers especially a little bit more because every one of us have had a client come in and say 'I have cancer, will you shave my head?' or 'I'm getting ready to go through chemo and I don't want my hair to fall out, will you just shave my head?'"

Whitney Gambrell, cosmetologist and owner of Salon Envy, said she's dealt with many clients who have undergone chemotherapy treatment, with one specifically who had pancreatic cancer and came to Gambrell for help once her hair began falling out.

"You know, every woman loves their hair," said Gambrell. "Her hair began falling out so we had to cut it really short, like clipper cut it."

Gambrell said this client asked Gambrell to go wig shopping with her, which was a real eye-opener.

"It was just very humbling seeing how excited and thankful she was that I went," said Gambrell. "It's like you're giving back."

"The thing about it is, when you're a hair dresser, your clients become like your family," said Rose. "I think when you face that challenge of 'oh my gosh, am I going to lose my hair?' We want to do all we can to make them feel better through that process."

Salon Envy will be holding its fundraising event for The Rapunzel Project Saturday, Nov. 18, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

"We're really hoping people just come in and get informed about The Rapunzel Project," said Rose.

Rose said the salon would be offering hair braiding for $10 and $5 nail polishing. She also said there would be an opportunity for clients who spend so much money in the salon that day to win things like a free color, a free hair cut or free products.

Rose said Kenra Professional Brand will be sending a basket to be raffled off at the event, as well.

All proceeds will go to benefit The Rapunzel Project.

"If you donate a dollar, we're going to give you an option to get a coupon for 20 percent off a product or $10 off a color, so it benefits people that do not come to our salon and do come to our salon," said Rose. "If you're a regular client here, you'd be crazy not to come donate to this because even if you donate $5, we're going to give you $10 off a color."

Rose said the salon has a goal of $2,500 for Saturday's fundraiser.

"If we raise so much they will put a freezer in our area," said Rose. "Our closest freezers are in Louisville and Elizabethtown, so if we could get one closer to home — especially because there's chemotherapy here now and there used to not be — it would be nice to have this in our area."

Rose said she is hoping the salon can raise enough money during this fundraiser to bring a freezer to Corbin, which would allow cancer patients in the Tri-County the chance to undergo Cold Cap Therapy and to keep their hair while they go through treatments.

"If this is something we can bring people into that, that kind of helps us as far as 'I don't have to shave your head, but let me show you what I can do for you,'" said Rose. "I think that might make that process not so heart wrenching, not so sad, not such a bad thing. We can give clients another option."

Gambrell said that this is the first of many years that Salon Envy plans to participate in fundraising for The Rapunzel Project, with hopes that the fundraiser will get bigger and bigger each year.

Rose said Salon Envy is willing to take any and all donations anyone wishes to give.

"We're hoping a lot of the community will get involved in this," said Rose.

Rose said if any business partners would like to donate or other salons would like to get involved, call Salon Envy at 606-620-5746.

For more information on The Rapunzel Project, visit rapunzelproject.org.

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