Henry Ramirez loves his work as a hair stylist. Owning Salon 808, in Honolulu, Hawaii, he’s been cutting and styling people’s hair for a large chunk of his life. One of his favorite parts of the job is meeting with his clients, many of whom are unlike typical patrons one might expect to find visiting a hair salon.
A well as coming to him for traditional cuts, some people also seek him out for a different and more personal reason.
A typical session with Ramirez starts just like it would with any client. First there are some greetings, then maybe a few quick questions. After that he gets to work, which is where things might take a bit of a turn.
He sometimes ends his service by taking off his clients’ hair.
Ramirez also works with wigs.
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“I should be retired,” Ramirez explained to Star Advertiser. “I’m doing three wigs a day. And I can’t stop.”
Ramirez and his staff have been fitting and styling wigs for clients for 20 years. They primarily provide their services to cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy or other people with conditions that result in hair loss.
The most incredible part is that they do the wig styling for free.
They additionally sell wigs at low costs.
Ryan Sales is one of Ramirez’s staff. One of the special clients he’s worked with is math teacher Carole Ota. Upon discovering that Ota had breast cancer, Sales, who had been styling Ota’s hair for years, said he was ready to help if and when she needed a wig.
“I told Carol, ‘When you lose your hair, we’ll have your wig ready for you,’” Sales explained.
That time would come later down the line.
“At a difficult point in my treatments, Ryan lovingly got me through the process of shaving off what little hair I had left, and fitting and styling a wig for me,” Ota explained to the Star Advertiser.
For Ramirez, working with cancer patients and people suffering from terrible conditions, at times his work can become emotional, especially when his patients don’t survive.
“[Some] are with me for a while and then they die,” Ramirez said with tears in his eyes. But he tries to stay strong when styling clients’ wigs, encouraging them to face the future with positivity too.
“If you’re going to cry, it needs to be tears of joy after this,” he said.
Ramirez explains that one of the most important parts of his job is treating his clients with dignity and the respect they deserve. He says that just because they are ill, that doesn’t mean they should be put into a situation where they are made to feel down about themselves.
“I tell my clients, ‘You’re on this journey, not by choice, but you deserve to face it with dignity,’” Ramirez said.
Ramirez is looking to the future excited to continue serving the members of his community with new wigs. He doesn’t know how much longer he’ll be doing so, but until then he will try to help as many people as possible.