Allison Stier's situation has inspired even competitors to work together.
Stier, owner of the Studio Eclipse Salon in Pine Valley Mall in north Fort Wayne, was diagnosed Sept. 14 with bilateral inflammatory breast cancer. The rare cancer already has spread to other parts of her body.
She had endured pain for a few months, but put off going to the doctor because she doesn't have health insurance.
So the six other stylists at her salon and more than 20 beauty industry professionals from around the city will join together to hold a benefit Cut-A-Thon for Stier from noon to 6 p.m. Nov. 4 at her salon.
“It's just been so well-received,” said Barb Hall, a stylist at Stier's salon who is helping to organize the event.
Stier, 39, worked at other local salons for years before starting her own salon 13 years ago, Hall said.
Even after her diagnosis, Stier continued working — trying to take care of her clients — until her doctor recently told her to stop, Hall said.
Hall and the other stylists at Studio Eclipse took on Stier's clients and donated the pay received to Stier. But they wanted to do more, Hall said.
A brainstorming session, which included stylists Stier had worked with before opening her own salon, resulted in the idea for the Cut-A-Thon, Hall said.
The beauty industry volunteers include people from 12 local salons, including four salon owners — people who normally are each other's competitors, Hall said. Two barbers also are donating their time to cut men's hair.
In addition to the four salon chairs at Studio Eclipse, organizers will set up eight chairs at Tiffany & Co. Studio of Dance, located nearby in Pine Valley Mall, Hall said. Neighboring business A-1 Ink Refill also will let them use its space for the event.
“Everybody is stepping up,” Hall said.
One barber from across town already mailed them a donation of $50 for Stier. Redken hair care donated all of the products they will need to offer hair conditioning treatments.
At the Cut-A-Thon, people can receive at haircut, clear color gloss treatment, conditioning treatment, temporary pink chalk streaks, nail polishing or a massage. Customers will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis.
Cost will be a donation, Hall said. For example, suggested donation for a haircut will be $20, but people are welcome to donate more.
A raffle will feature prizes including a weeklong stay in a two-bedroom, beachfront vacation condo in Siesta Key, Fla.; a set of BF Goodrich tires; a pendant and earring set from Shannon Jewelers; Redken hair products; and more.
Ten percent of the money raised will be donated to Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana, and the rest will go to Stier, Hall said.
They also hope to have information available about inflammatory breast cancer, which she said is not detected by a mammogram.
Stier, who has a son, Carson, 10, is humbled by number of stylists and other salon owners joining together to help her, she said.
“It is a wonderful feeling,” she said of the support. “I feel very blessed.”