Why I do what I do
There are few life altering moments more challenging that learning you have been diagnosed with cancer.
Having had to face that reality with both my parents profoundly changed me to the core and has forever altered the course of my life. But in a strange twist of fate, and in a most mysterious and serendipitous way, walking beside them, along with so many others over the years, has allowed me to find my own life.
There is not a single day that goes by that I don’t think of them. They gave me life, they were my anchors, and they kept me grounded; they were my world. And through them, they helped me find a way to continue on their legacy of giving so much to our family and so many others in the community that they touched, supported, encouraged and loved throughout the years.
The constant expressions of love they freely gave to me and to so many others is my most treasured gift for which I will always be in their debt; for this I will be forever grateful.
Shortly after my dad was diagnosed, I wanted to learn as much as I could so I could help him in as many ways as I could. Perhaps it stemmed from my own emotional distress or a subconscious feeling of guilt that I couldn’t do more. Perhaps it was simply that my mind and heart were in the process of naturally discovering my life’s mission and purpose as it was unfolding. Whatever the reasons, I knew I needed to learn more and find the tools that would allow me to assist him and those around me.
At the time, I co-owned a well-established hair salon in Toronto. As I began volunteering in cancer support groups and workshops at Wellspring and the Look Good Feel Better program based at Sunnybrook, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and Mt. Sinai hospitals, I learned more about the disease and began to understand how my professional skills could have an impact on those walking the sometimes long and difficult journey of cancer. I began to realize how the appearance related side effects of the disease, especially hair loss, could inflict devastating emotional distress which oftentimes was even more frightening than the disease itself. The diminishing of confidence and hope, feelings of isolation, vulnerability and fear were themes I heard over and over again.
It is true that over the past 20 years, I have had the privilege of assisting many celebrities and people in positions of high influence. Cancer is not a respecter of persons. But for me, nothing gives me more satisfaction and joy, and is of greater value or worth, than to have a woman or man allow me into their world for a time, even when that world is filled with fear, uncertainty, vulnerability and sometimes anger and/or suspicion to leave with new feelings of confidence, dignity, determination and hope.
How I do what I do
I provide totally free, no obligation private consultations at a convenient location in the heart of downtown Toronto. My office, located near hospitals and a major subway stop is designed to create a warm, tranquil and calm oasis.
I usually accept clients referred to me through past satisfied clients, medical/oncology Dr’s, colleagues and friends but sometimes make exceptions. In special circumstances, I would consider extending my services to those who are in a hospital and are unable to come to my place of work for a wig consult.
Also, I am often able to provide guidance in terms of the many free support programs and community services available in the city as I have had extensive work and volunteer experience with many of those service and program providers.
Here are a few of thoughts and stories from clients to help you and your family better understand the cancer journey. This section of the website is from some of my clients gift to those of you who are now travelling the same road of cancer survivorship.
“I came in to purchase a wig, not knowing what to expect, but when time came to actually sitting down and putting on a wig, reality hit me. It was really hard for me to accept the fact that I’m losing my hair, but this experience trying the wigs made me realize how much more confidence the beautifully made wigs will give me! Thank you so much Zain for all your help in making me feel comfortable and making this transition so much easier!” B 16 yrs old.
Meeting you yesterday was a magical experience.
“Everything worked like a charm. Sholom and I enjoyed the whole experience: being at your salon, chatting with you, trying different wigs and having fun through it all.
As I mentioned, I was a little concerned about the whole process, but you made it so easy and so pleasant. You are a true artist and an excellent stylist. I feel very fortunate to have met you and to be a beneficiary of your great talent. I will call Susan and let her know about the great experience.
Again, thank you so much for helping through this process and for selling me two very beautiful wigs which I will truly enjoy wearing. Also, thank you for being so gentle and kind with me–it makes all the difference. All the best to you! With much gratitude,
“What a positive and fun experience! I forgot the real reason that brought me here. Expertise and kindness combined provide a feeling of confidence and well-being. Thank you! EM.
“Zain, your gentleness is touching. You have made this experience so much more tolerable. Your knowledge is amazing. Keep up the great work. You are making a difference. Thanks! AE
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