Building Confidence to Confront a Health Crisis
The Mo’Hair Foundation is a nonprofit organization committed to assisting adults and children who may have lost their hair due to illness, a catastrophic event such as a fire, or other acute life trauma. This 501(c)(3) organization works with individuals, businesses, and corporations to help cover the cost of hair replacement for anyone in need.
The organization was founded by Monique Smith-Andrews, who has owned and operated Monique’s Techniques, a full-service hair care and beauty salon serving Jersey City since 1988. She was inspired to help others cope with hair loss when her mother was diagnosed with lymphoma – a cancer of the immune system. “She lost her hair… and it bothered me that it was bothering her.” Monique researched options and quickly discovered how expensive hair replacement was for cancer patients, and that most insurance companies did not cover the cost. Bottom line, hair replacement solutions were not economically accessible to most individuals experiencing hair loss due to cancer, disorders like alopecia or lupus, and other thyroid and hormonal scalp conditions.
In 2009, Mo’Hair was founded in response to this disparity – so that regardless of income, patients would not have to pay hundreds and thousands of dollars to regain a sense of normalcy while battling an illness. Dealing with a chronic and/or critical health condition is stressful enough. When illness is compounded with the emotional trauma of low self-esteem due to hair loss, many patients can become hopeless, withdrawn, and unresponsive. Through the relatively small gift of hair replacement, Mo’Hair seeks to help a patient restore self-confidence and build resilience when confronting a health crisis.
Sustaining a Community Culture of Health
HealthierJC is committed to building and sustaining a vibrant and empowered community, capable of overcoming chronic health issues and disparities. As a HealthierJC mini-grantee recipient, The Mo’Hair Foundation was recognized as a community resource uniquely positioned to help Jersey City residents coping with a chronic or critical health crisis.
More importantly, Mo’Hair understood and promoted the interconnectedness between:
- Providing compassionate no-cost hair replacement services,
- Supporting the mental health and happiness of the individual, and
- Contributing to the strength and vitality of a community.
Mo’Hair Expansion to Christ Hospital Jersey City
As Mo’Hair services became increasingly well-known within the community, they were approached by CarePoint Health in 2018 to open a free-of-charge wig salon within Christ Hospital of Jersey City. To additionally offer patients eyebrow and lash extension services, Mo’Hair decided to collaborate with Skyy Hadley, a renowned celebrity beauty expert, and owner of As U Wish Nail and Lash Spa in Hoboken NJ.
The new Christ Hospital location offered patients greater access to Mo’Hair services within a more confidential and private environment. In a press release announcing the opening of the Mo’Hair Christ Hospital Salon, founder Monique Smith Andrews explained:
“People didn’t want to come into the Jersey City salon while other clients were there. They were bashful… [a]nd now they won’t have to go too far to receive this service. One of the best aspects of [our services are] they are therapeutic for patients… [This salon] will help us to do what we do for even more people, and have a greater impact.”
Needless to say, the foundation has significantly grown in recent years, and now services clients from all over the country. While Mo’Hair works with patients on the cosmetic aspects of their illness, the real goal is to develop and rebuild their inner self-esteem. Helping patients maintain an upbeat attitude, build resilience, and restore a little hope in the midst of treatment or recovery – contributes to positive medical outcomes. See NBC News4 profile “Hair Salon for Cancer Patients”.
The Mo’Hair Foundation tactically utilized the HealthierJC mini-grant to expand the reach of their services by:
- Covering the hair replacement costs for 3 patients, including a child residing in Jersey City Ward F, and
- Developing brochures and advertising content to promote the Mo’Hair Christ Hospital Salon on a local, regional, and national scale.
Making a Difference in the Life of a Child: A Mother’s Testimony
“… My daughter had an accident back in 2007 and it has left her with Extreme Alopecia. As result, we had to purchase custom-fitted handmade wigs. It has been costly, and in many cases not a pleasant experience for her. The whole experience with [Mo’Hair] from beginning to end was amazingly smooth and quick. …Before, not one day would go by without us telling her how beautiful she is to reinforce her positive attitude, but now she wakes up telling us how beautiful she is!”
“I can honestly say her new … wig has her inner light shining through with such a wonderful glow. We had a huge family event a couple of weeks ago and some family members that we have not seen in a while talked about how long & nice her hair has grown back, and to watch her smile and say, “Thank you!” with no hesitation before she responded was amazing!! I really wish we could have come across Monique’s path sooner because not only would we have saved lots of money but also my daughter would have been happier sooner!”
For more general information about this HealthierJC mini-grantee, please visit the Mo’Hair Foundation website at www.mohairfoundation.com/.