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Support a cause with purple hair

When a friend of mine convinced a salon to provide purple hair extensions in support of epilepsy awareness, I knew I wanted to be in on it.  For one thing,  my friend has a daughter, 13, who has struggled with epilepsy since she was a baby, so I thought this was a great way to offer support and do my small part to bring awareness to a frequently misunderstood ailment.  And, of course, I wanted purple hair pretty badly.  Here’s how it went.

1. November is epilepsy awareness month: My friend, Sandy,  has organized various awareness campaigns every November for the past several years. This year, her daughter Grace put this together as a project for a Middle School class. They began planning a few months ago by asking Lords and Ladies Salons to provide purple hair extensions (a year ago, the salon had supported a breast cancer awareness fundraiser with pink extensions).  The salon owner or manager agreed to order the extensions and offer them  from Nov. 1-19 for $10 apiece,  including cost of applying them to your hair.  The entire $10 goes to the Epilepsy Foundation, since even the stylists donate their time for the cause.

2. I’ve never had purple hair before. In fact, the only color I’ve ever dyed my hair is brown, so purple was quite a stretch, even if it was only a thin lock of purple.  I went on Nov. 1, when Sandy held her kickoff event at the Pottstown Lords and Ladies. In addition to Sandy and Grace, there was quite a crowd waiting for purple extensions when I arrived.  Fortunately, I knew most of the estimated 20 women and children waiting, so it was fun to watch how the purple strands looked in everyone’s hair.

3. I opted for two: I decided to get one on each side. I never knew how extensions were put in, so I was surprised that it involved a heating device that melted a keratin-based adhesive onto my hair. The stylist was very friendly, and told me about her niece who was recently diagnosed with an unusual form of epilepsy. She also told me the extensions would last over a month, could be styled like the rest of my hair, and if I wanted them out earlier I could come in and have them removed.

4. A word about Lords and Ladies Salon. If you’ve never been to Lords and Ladies’ Pottstown office it’s probably worth trying just to see the building it’s in. Located on King Street in an old Victorian Home, it has been renovated as a salon, but the owners kept some of the most interesting architectural details intact. The room we were in featured pillars with impressive decorative trim, charming window seats and beautiful wood floors.

5. A word about epilepsy. I could fill a lot of blogs with all the things I don’t know about epilepsy. Fortunately, there are some really good websites that can help people like me gain a better understanding.  Here are a few facts from the Epilepsy Foundation website:

  • Epilepsy affects nearly 3 million Americans and 50 million people worldwide.
  • It affects more than 300,000 children under the age of 15–more than 90,000 of whom have seizures that cannot be adequately be treated.
  • Epilepsy is the third most common neurological disorder in the U.S. after Alzheimer’s disease and stroke.
  • Julius Ceaser had epilepsy. So did Dante, Dickens and Mozart.
  • And, it turns out I’m not alone in having a pretty slim understanding of epilepsy.  It is, in fact, “among the least understood of major chronic medical conditions, even though one in three adults knows someone with the disorder.”

6. A word about purple hair. My purple extensions were buried under my real hair, so they didn’t show all that much when I got them. However, the day after I got them I rode my bike to work and, let me just say here that biking to work is great for many things, but it is never good for your hair. The purple locks stuck out pretty noticeably on both sides of my head. The next day I trimmed them shorter so they tucked in better, and it hasn’t been a problem since. Honestly, if people notice them, they don’t mention it. My daughter, who is 24, loved them, of course, and went the next day to get two of her own. She has long, dark hair and she doesn’t bike to work so they look a lot better on her.

7. A great way to support a cause. Of all the ways there are to support a cause, this was one of the most fun things to do. It was different, and kind of exciting and, since I did it with friends, it also made for a nice get together in the middle of the week. The extensions are available from all Lords and Ladies Salon locations through Nov. 19, so you can try it yourself if you like. I recommend it. Just call and ask or walk in and they’ll squeeze you in. It only takes a few minutes, you’ll have intriguing purple locks for month and you’ll support a really important cause.

8. If you do get purple extensions.  There’s a good chance, if you get extensions, that people might notice them. Two of my co-workers mentioned them. Here’s what I said: “I only did this to support a cause. I am, of course, past the stage of my life where I need to put purple in my hair for effect!” That of course was such a lie.  I mean, I really did want to support epilepsy awareness, but I liked the effect!

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