DeJuan Burns of Prince George’s County, Maryland has always known that she wanted to help people look their absolute best.
“When I was a child, I always played with Barbie dolls, and do different styles and things like that,” she told Fox.
But Burns, who is a former teacher and a celebrity stylist, is now doing more than just helping women look their best: she has started working with cancer patients, as well as patients of other diseases, who lost their hair during treatment.
Millions of people lose their hair to cancer treatments, though the results are not always the same.
“Whether your hair thins or you become completely bald will depend on your treatment,” Mayo Clinic writes, “no treatment exists that can guarantee your hair won’t fall out during or after chemotherapy. The best way for you to deal with impending hair loss is to plan ahead and focus on making yourself comfortable with your appearance before, during and after your cancer treatment.”
And that is exactly what Burns is trying to do. She knows that each person’s experience with treatment and hair loss is different, and she makes customized wigs to match each patient’s preferences. She also makes each wig by hand, which takes her about half an hour.
“I thought about the wigs,” Burns said. “Some people don’t have enough hair for me to do sewn-in or crochet style so I say wigs are the new weaves.”
One patient, Camille Kelley, found out that she had cancer in her ovaries and her cervix a decade ago, but the effects it had on her life are still present.
“I had to have a hysterectomy,” she told Fox. “It was devastating. So many medicines, treatments going on and afterward, I was 100 percent better, but the traces of treatment left the damage. That’s when it got to my hair and a woman’s hair is her crown and glory.”
Burns wants to continue empowering women and helping cancer patients regain their confidence, but she also realizes that sometimes they’re too sick or uncomfortable to make their way to her salon. So, she put her service on wheels.
In 2013, Burns opened De Glam Shoppe Mobile Hair Salon, the D.C. area’s first ever black-owned mobile hair salon. This RV-inspired salon can travel as far south as Atlanta, Georgia and allows Burns to share her beauty and hair knowledge with an even broader range of people. In 2017, she created a second mobile salon, allowing her to reach even more people.
The mobile salons also allow Burns to bring her wigs straight to the homes of women who need them.
“I’ve had people cry,” Burns said. “I’ve had people go out and tell everybody they know, take my flyers and share it on social media and I think that’s really nice.”
By transforming these women and making them feel like themselves again, she is empowering them to be survivors even stronger than before, ready to take on the world.
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