Salon at Children's Wellness Center offers pampering for patients and families

Jeanne McCoy knows firsthand the stress of being sick. In 2005, she was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

“I did end up losing my hair. As a hair stylist, it was traumatic,” said McCoy. “I thought it would be one of those things I can go through and it would be fine, but it really wasn’t. As it happens, it sinks in that you are sick and things are changing.”

Now in remission, she's taking time away from her day job at Intelligent Nutrients salon in northeast Minneapolis to volunteer at the new Blythe Brenden-Mann Foundation Wellness Center located inside the University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital. Within the space, free haircuts, manicures, along with other integrative therapies, including acupuncture and massage are available to patients and their families often spending long weeks and months in the hospital.

“We get a little sacrificial sometimes when we are trying to give up everything for our children who are sick and so to remember that our health and wellness is important too in the whole equation,” said co-coordinator Laurie Fratatallone. “Especially with very lengthy hospital stays, you have to maintain your own health and energy and well-being.”

Family of 16-year-old Faith Panemalaythong is currently navigating through her kidney failure. Her mom and sister say the Wellness Center opening last week came at a perfect time for a much needed distraction.

“Just being that you are in there all the time, just to step away for a little bit to relax and get pampered, I think it’s good,” said Saykham Panemalaythong.

“We play music like a normal salon, there is laughter, it gets boisterous,” said McCoy. “It’s just a fun place to leave the hospital hallways and come into a place that can help you feel normal anywhere from a half hour to an hour.”

Plus instead of parents often walking the halls for exercise, workout equipment is available. All of it in hopes a little pampering is just what the doctor ordered.

“It’s really one of kind in the Twin Cities right now,” said McCoy.

Organizers are looking for licensed hair stylist and nail technicians to volunteer their time on Mondays. The salon is open on Mondays because that is a day of the week other salons are typically closed. If you are interested call Laurie Fratatallone at 612-365-2100.