Stylists Rachel Bennett and Loe Bolten add a pink extension to Dayna Sanders' hair at Del Sol Salon in Huntington Beach on Thursday. The salon is offering pink hair dye, highlights and extensions to raise funds during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. (SCOTT SMELTZER, HB Independent / )
Most people can't think of anything positive about breast cancer. But when it happened to Cherie Odell about 21 years ago, it turned out to be a good thing, she says.
'It made me appreciate what I have,' she said. 'Life is very short and you can be gone tomorrow.'
Odell, 70, of Costa Mesa, was getting her hair done Thursday at Del Sol Salon in Huntington Beach, where this month stylists are offering customers pink hair dye, highlights and extensions for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Proceeds will be donated to the Susan G. Komen organization, a nonprofit founded in 1982 to promote breast cancer education, research, advocacy, health services and support programs.
During her years as a stylist, salon owner Lorraine Atwood has met many women who have had breast cancer. She said she started the fundraiser to raise awareness about the disease.
'I'm compassionate toward them because they lose all their hair' during treatment, she said.
When Odell was diagnosed, she didn't sulk or have a negative outlook on the world, she said. And when she became cancer-free, she took the opportunity to enjoy life and be thankful she's alive.
'Don't ever feel sorry for yourself,' she said. 'There will be some days when you don't feel like going to work and just want to have the day off, but in those situations, you should kick yourself in the [rear] and be glad that you can still go to work. No day's a bad day. You just make it good.'
Sitting next to Odell was Huntington Beach resident JoAnne Bradley, 46, whose friend, New York resident Andrea Della Mura, is a two-time cancer survivor. Thinking about Mura's struggles brought tears to Bradley's eyes.
'She was 25 the first time she had her first battle with breast cancer, and her second bout came 12 years later,' Bradley said as Atwood was putting in hair extensions. 'I do a lot of [benefit] walks for her with Lorraine, and now I'm doing this. She's on my mind every time I think pink. I just get really moved.'
Odell said breast cancer awareness was almost nonexistent when she was diagnosed in the 1990s, and she is happy to see so many people paying attention to it now so that patients may get treatment earlier.
'Women are now doing self-exams and getting mammograms at 40,' she said. 'You need to be aware of it.'
Odell believes her positive outlook helped her get through the illness.
'If you're going to die, you're going to die,' she said. 'So why not make life the best you can as you're going through it?'
If you go
What: Breast cancer fundraiser
Where: Del Sol Salon, 9911 Hamilton Ave., Huntington Beach
When: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays, by appointment Sundays
Information: (714) 963-HAIR (4247), dsblowdrylounge.com