For a woman battling cancer, a day at the spa is probably the last thing on her mind. But it might be the break she needs, if just for a day.
That’s why Debbie Sestokas and Peggy Matzen started the Diva for a Day Foundation, a program that works with individual salons to sponsor a full day of spa pampering for women who need it most, free of charge. Each “Diva” receives the royal treatment on her special day, complete with the works: a manicure, pedicure, facial, massage, blow-out, and makeup application. Divas are even greeted with a fresh bouquet of flowers and a photographer to commemorate the occasion.
Debbie and Peggy are cancer survivors themselves, so their compassion for these women is deep-rooted. “When someone is dealing with cancer, it is so all-consuming,” Debbie said. “We wanted to give these women a little escape from it all; a day to forget about doctors’ appointments and treatments, a day to feel special.”
The Maya Angelou quote scrawled atop their website seems to sums it up well: “Be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.”
A rainbow indeed. In the six years since hosting its very first Diva in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, the organization has managed to partner with over 50 salons nationwide and helped to brighten the day of over 600 Divas thus far (and counting). According to Peggy, when a request is made for a Diva in a new location, the foundation will make an effort to seek out nearby salons willing to sponsor her – an undertaking which has helped them cater to women with cancer in 26 states to date.
Peggy says the number of nominated Divas in Staten Island is high, where word seemed to spread quickly about the foundation and the generosity of its partnering salons. The Island accommodates more Divas than any single town, where there are three participating salons thus far.
A.F. Bennett is one of the Diva for a Day participating salons, and they couldn’t be more delighted to team up with such a wonderful foundation. “The experience has been breathtaking,” says A.F. Bennett owner Frank Bennett. “Cancer can make a woman feel robbed of her beauty physically and outwardly, but it can also rob her of her inner beauty as well. We get the chance to turn that around and make her feel beautiful both inside and out. To take her spirits and heighten them to feel beautiful again – it’s priceless.”
Do you have a loved one battling cancer, someone who truly deserves the royal treatment? To qualify as a Diva for a Day, a nominee must be recently diagnosed, currently in treatment, or no more than six months past the completion of their treatment. Click here to visit the Diva for a Day website, where you can link to a nomination form and to see a list of participating salons in our area.