As we wrap up the year in a season of giving and gratitude, we learn from celebrity hairstylist, Martino Cartier and FOLLEA founder, Daniel Alain Hafid how their work with Wigs & Wishes has helped transform not only, the lives of women and children touched by cancer, but also their own.
A Perfect Collaboration
What started out as a suggestion from his high school principal, Martino Cartier embarked on his hair stylist career at vocational school. Since 1998, his passion and love for the beauty industry grew exponentially as a salon owner, stylist, educator, inspirational speaker and TV personality. Through Martino’s work in beauty, he understands that “what you look like due to any circumstance is not what defines you as a human being.”
Daniel Alain Hafid learned his craft working for 30 years alongside his father, René. The renowned Parisian hair stylist and creator of René of Paris Wigs – the epitome of fashionable, synthetic ladies wigs in the 80’s and 90’s. During this time, he also gained empathy towards women’s emotional connection to their hair and recognized that, “appearance is one part of a greater whole of an incredible person standing in front of the mirror. The power of being positive and living life to the fullest capacity you can is paramount.”
10 years ago, Marino started Wigs & Wishes as a simple concept. Originally envisioned to help only women surviving breast cancer under a not-for-profit called, “Friends Are By Your Side”, Wigs & Wishes by Marino Cartier emerged. Now, helping all women and children with any type of cancer, Martino’s collaboration with Daniel’s company FOLLEA (makers of the finest luxury, handcrafted, human hair wigs) has helped over countless women and children nationwide to regain their confidence.
“Professionally, Wigs & Wishes allows our company [FOLLEA] the opportunity to share with the community powerful and moving storytelling about real women, children and their families facing the emotional and physical adversities of cancer. We are able to transform and touch the lives of these incredible people and in turn inspire others to spread joy, to seek partnerships of giving, and to look beyond the bottom line and beyond themselves to give back,” states Daniel.
He adds, “Personally, Wigs & Wishes reminds me of the great social responsibility I have been granted as a successful business entrepreneur to be in a fortunate position to make a positive difference in the lives of women and children each and every day.”
Connection and Gratitude
When asked how the chronic illness of cancer has touched their own lives, both Martino and Daniel account their varied experiences.
Martino relays, “Well, that’s a very difficult question because cancer touches my life each and every day. Whether it’s the cry for help from a single mom, the smile of hope from a child 5 or under, or the time that comes when you have to say goodbye to one of these people. It completely touches your life. I have hundreds of angels looking down over me and I think about them often.”
Daniel shares a different story. “My father, who founded Rene of Paris Wigs, passed from throat cancer in 2013. It’s an immensely difficult thing to watch someone you are so close to rapidly decline in health. His cancer was diagnosed about 2 years before he passed, but he never told anyone. He was a vivacious, fun, positive man. He didn’t want anyone to feel sorry for him or concerned for him. We had his last meal together, although we didn’t know it at the time. His throat became too sore to eat. The final days are bittersweet memories. He is an inspiration to me.”
While both Martino and Daniel have different relationships with chronic illness, they both agree that gratitude has helped shape their own pathways to success. Recognizing the sanctity of life and having to say goodbye to close friends and loved ones often, has yielded Martino’s patient and understanding day-to-day approach. After a fire destroyed Daniel’s factory in 2010, his 500 employees rallied together and helped rebuild the business. This showed Daniel the beauty of gratitude and the power of teamwork.
Continuing in the spirit of gratitude and giving, on December 12th Wigs & Wishes is hosting a Hair Raising Hair & Toy Drive in New York City. Learn more on Wigs & Wishes.org