Think Pink
Local salon offers colorful streaks in honor of breast cancer month

A local salon owner is painting the town pink. Well, not really the town, but Joanie Parker is making some Gwinnett residents look a little brighter.

The hair-styling veteran of 23 years and owner of the Joanie Parker Hair Studio in Duluth is coloring the tresses of some of her clients in an effort to raise awareness and money for breast cancer research.

Finding inspiration in a 10-year-old who often visited the salon asking for bright streaks in her hair, Parker said the idea seemed like the perfect way to spark conversation about breast cancer and raise some money for the cause.

"I've found that people will ask, 'why do you have pink in your hair?'" Parker said. "It's a way to raise awareness and I thought it was fun and different."

Parker said she began with a one-day trial run last month at the salon to see how the idea would go over with her clients. The evening of hair streaking raised $1,700, she said.

"It was a big success, so we decided to do it through the month of October," Parker said.

Parker and her staff will continue their fundraising efforts by mixing up concoctions of light to bright pink semipermanent and permanent hair color. The salon is asking for a $5 donation in exchange for the color.

An appointment for the color processing, which takes 15 to 20 minutes, can be made by calling the salon at 770-497-8998, but walk-ins are also welcome.

So far, Parker said, about 60 people have been streaked since the trial run last month, raising a total of $2,200 for the American Cancer Society. She said she'd like to raise at least $3,000.

Parker's interest in the cause began after losing two parents to cancer. Afterward, she said, she wanted to get involved with a cancer awareness program.

Nearly three years ago, Parker hooked up with the American Cancer Society and began leading meetings for the local society's "Look Good ... Feel Better" program for breast cancer patients.

The stylist and her group meet every other month at Sugarloaf First United Methodist Church in Duluth to discuss beauty tips and offer encouragement.

"We get together and show them how to put on makeup and care for their wigs, pick out wigs and tie scarves," Parker said. "It's a two-hour time to get together ... it's a support group.

Additional information about program meetings in Gwinnett can be found online at www.cancer.org or by calling 1-800-395-LOOK.

"It's so rewarding and I meet so many wonderful people," Parker said of the program. "There are wonderful ladies who come in ... I can't tell you what they do for me."

SideBar: If You Go

n What: Pink Streaks breast cancer fundraiser

n When: Through the end of October

n Where: Joanie Parker Hair Studio, 1611 Satellite Blvd., Duluth

n Cost: The salon is asking for a $5 donation for each pink dye job.

n Info: Call 770-497-8998.