Created and supported by the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, the one hundred is an awareness and fundraising initiative that celebrates hope in the cancer community. Each year, the one hundred honors 100 everyday amazing individuals and groups — caregivers, researchers, philanthropists, advocates and volunteers from around the globe — whose commitment to the fight against cancer inspires us all to take action.
Here is the story of Sylvia Caruso of The Hair Studio & Wig Salon in Saugus:
A cancer patient who walks into Sylvia Caruso’s salon and comes out a changed person, transformed by her skill, compassion and determination to bring joy back into life.
It all began one day when Sheila Bebchick and her husband, Les, were driving down Route 1 in Saugus. They saw a sign for Sylvia Caruso’s Hair Studio and Wig Salon and decided to give it a try. A stage IV metastatic breast cancer patient, Sheila had tried four different wigs over the 10 years of her treatment, yet none of them made her feel like herself. That all changed when she met Sylvia and her colleague Angelica Gentile.
“She immediately engages each client as if she was a magical wizard who will transform their appearance,” says Les. “Sylvia goes out of her way to make each person feel special.”
A breast cancer survivor herself, Sylvia understands the profound impact that hair loss has on a woman’s self-worth, confidence and happiness. Les remembers the first meeting they had with Sylvia. “We showed her several pictures of the old Sheila. Her eyes lit up, she almost jumped for joy, and said, ‘If you want the old Sheila back, that’s exactly what we are going to do for you.’”
Originally a hairdresser by trade, Sylvia saw the vital need to help men and women with hair replacement, and devoted her career to this mission. But it’s more than a career. Says Les, “People leave the salon with a smile on their face and a sense of happiness, knowing that they have found a person who cares about their happiness–and not just another sale.”
Caruso will be honored at the one hundred 2017, which will take place on June 15 at the Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel.