Kindest Cuts: Free Clips of Kindness for Cancer Patients

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In mid-2010, Great Clips CEO Rhoda Olsen approached Jane Evans, a franchisee in Colorado, and asked her opinion about a philanthropy effort that could be offered system-wide: giving cancer patients free clipper haircuts when facing hair loss as a result of their treatment. Expressing a personal philosophy of “You’ve got to give to receive,” Jane signed on.

Less than four months later, Jane was diagnosed with stage 4 metastasized breast cancer. Shortly thereafter she found herself receiving her own clipper cut. Progressing through chemo, surgery and radiation, Jane came to realize on an extremely personal level just how important the Great Clips service could be. During a series of all-staff meetings with stylists and managers from her Colorado Springs/Pueblo salons in October 2011, Jane informally launched what would become “Clips of Kindness.” Tammy Nienaber, director of communications at Great Clips, remembers the early days of the program. “Even before we had initiated the program, Jane was offering complimentary cuts for people getting cancer treatment. She was the inspiration behind the program, and her salons became the testing ground for offering and providing this much-needed service.”

As of July 1, 2014, free Clips of Kindness are available at any of the 3,500 Great Clips locations in the U.S. and Canada. The program is based on Jane’s vision: “I want them to know there is a place they can go where they’ll be treated with respect, understanding and empathy. People can bring someonealong for support. We’ve even done private appointments. We’ll listen and take care of them.”

Great Clips is collaborating with cancer treatment centers, oncology clinics and hospitals to spread the word, with the goal of helping every cancer patient feel more comfortable as they go through a difficult process by adapting each clipper service to individual needs. Some patients have asked for locks of hair for wig matching; others are given a private space for their cuts or extra time to adjust afterwards.

Tammy explains why her company has taken this compassionate, considerate approach: “Clips of Kindness allows Great Clips stylists to connect with people during a time of need with a service that fits our expertise. It is the perfect connection of doing what we do every day: helping people feel good about how they look, and doing the right thing.”

Watch Jane Evans and other Great Clips stylists and managers share their experiences with Clips of Kindness.

If you could provide a service that would help people suffering through illness, what would it be? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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