Tampa hair salon raising money for chemo hair-loss alternative

4:11 PM, Oct 17, 2013   |    comments
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Heather Van Nest stops by Blowbar Express Salon's Rapunzal Project event in 2012

 

South Tampa, FL -- One of the biggest obstacles for some women facing cancer treatment is the possible loss of their hair during chemotherapy.

A South Tampa hair salon hopes to remove that obstacle using a "cold cap" treatment popular in other countries and gaining momentum here too.

"BlowBar" in South Tampa is holding a fundraiser Thursday night to help purchase the freezers necessary for the cold-caps as a part of the Rapunzel Project.

Photos from Rapunzel Project 2012

The Rapunzel Project is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping chemotherapy patients keep their hair during treatment. Their goal is to purchase and provide freezers to the local hospital or infusion facility at no charge to the patient. 

Once the patient gets her oncologist/doctor on board then the medical office staff contacts a cold cap company.

There are many cold cap companies. 

Cold caps can be used at any location with the dry ice method. However a biomedical freezer is of benefit to both patients and infusion centers.

It saves patients/helpers the cost and effort of acquiring and handling dry ice, keeps all caps uniformly cold, and minimizes the number of helpers needed by the patient.

The challenge is that the cold cap process requires a freezer that can maintain a temperature of -22°F, and each cap has to be stored in its own box to ensure uniform temperature throughout.

"Studies have shown that wearing a cold cap slows down the metabolic rate at which hair cells absorb nutrients or anything else in the blood like chemotherapy drugs," said Leslie Betts, the owner of BlowBar.

"As a result when the chemo in the blood goes into the hair follicles the absorption rate is minimal, and most hair can withstand this level of attack although some thinning may occur."

Cold caps are still in clinical trials in the U.S., awareness is minimal, and hospitals do not have them.
 
Their is no other foundation or project that Betts is aware of, she says, that will purchase the freezer for the patient. 
 
Each freezer with freight costs about $1,500.
 
"My background is medical," said Betts, "I am a pharmacist specializing in HIV.  I opened BlowBar, really for busy moms, professional women, and young girls that simply run out of time to take care of them selves.

"I felt very close to this project simply because I am a woman and I want every woman out there to realize we now have a choice whether to lose our hair or not.  It's all about giving us choices. Some women may be OK shaving their head and then their are other women that keeping their hair could give them the last bit of courage they need to keep on pushing," said Betts.

BlowBar is offering complimentary Kenra deep conditioning treatments the day of the fundraising event, this Thursday, October, 17, 2013. 

"I'm hoping this will encourage ladies to donate to the cause in addition to our raffle that evening," said Betts.

For information, call (813) 876-BLOW (2569), or visit www.blowbarexpress.com   

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