APPLETON (NBC 26) — Think about your hair. How important is it to you? How important is it to your identity? Meet a woman who is helping give people 'wings to fly' with medical hair loss across the Fox Valley. It's a part of our continued Celebrating Volunteer Series with the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region.
"When you see the wings, that's where it is, Peaceful Purpose."
Located inside NAAVA Salon & Spa in Appleton sits a place giving women, and children, strength and hope as they fight cancer, alopecia, or any other sort of medical hair loss.
"It's terrifying to look different," said Betsy Rachubinski, the salon owner and founder of Peaceful Purpose. "You're already starting treatment and then you lose your hair; and to go out in the world not feeling like yourself is terrifying."
That's why Betsy started Peaceful Purpose two years ago. It's a nonprofit helping provide people with wigs and comfort at no charge.
"Being able to use my skill as a hairdresser to help these women have some sort of normalcy in their life, it's very rewarding for me, humbling, and it just fuels me."
But just as Betsy helps others, she's also touched by so many women women whose strength and resilience is inspiring. And so, with the clip of a scissors or the shave of a razor, she helps make women feel as beautiful on the outside as they are on the inside. Her efforts earning her the 2020 Healthcare Volunteer Award.
"I never thought I would qualify for it or receive the award," she said. "I feel honored."
The $5,000 award from Ascension and ThedaCare will help buy more wigs for clients and help continue offering services for free.
"It's just a great feeling knowing somebody can leave here, they can take on their journey through cancer or whatever that may be, feeling good about themselves and the way they look," Betsy said.
So her clients can stand in front of the wings painted along the salon wall, filled with words of encouragement, smiling with a Peaceful Purpose.
"You never know when you're going to need somebody in your corner, especially with COVID and all of the negativity going around right now, it's important in my eyes to dig deep and really be there for each other."
While Peaceful Purpose mainly helps women it is open to men or anyone who needs it. Betsy said they also offer a Wigs for Kids service where people can come and donate their hair for a donation to the nonprofit. If you or someone you know, thinks you could benefit from the service, Betsy says to just give them a call. Adding, she looks forward to helping as many people as she can.
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If you know someone like Betsy that you think would be a good fit for this year's Healthcare Award, nominate them, or choose from other Celebrating Volunteers awards. Nominations close this Friday, February 5.