Editor’s note: Joanna Donovan is not a real name and was used to protect the identity of the individual.
When breast cancer survivor Joanna Donovan turned to her hairstylist of 10 years for expert advice and care after chemotherapy altered her hair and complexion, she never expected the service she received.
“Basically, she told me there wasn’t anything she could do for me,” says Donovan, a 45-year-old high school teacher from the Greater Boston area. Donovan believed that she had been treated very cruelly and with little compassion. Luckily, she did find another salon—one that not only made her feel better about her looks, but also, more importantly, restored a little of her faith in humanity. “They did wonders for my hair, and gave me all kinds of advice on my skin care and makeup. But, on a deeper level, they empathized with my situation in a personal way that truly touched me,” she says.