Photo Credit: Hair Dreams by Christal
Amiyah suffered from hair loss and was the target of bullies in grade school by a number of her classmates. She was taunted and told that she looked like a boy because of her condition. Some of her classmates even called her “grandma.” But all that would change when she met Houston cosmetologist, Christal Mercier, who used her training and skills to transform Amiyah’s life.
Founder and CEO of Hair Dreams by Christal, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Mercier has made the hair dreams of many clients, from all walks of life, come true. Mercier is preparing to celebrate her nonprofit’s 11th year of operation with the organization’s annual Holiday of Hope Gala, a fundraiser held to raise money to provide free hair replacement systems for individuals suffering from traumatic or medically-induced hair loss.
Themed, Helping Houstonians Rise From Trauma to Triumph, the event will be held at the Lake Olympia Marina, 180 Island Boulevard, Missouri City, Texas 77459. Emmy award-winning KPRC 2 news anchor, Syan Rhodes, will emcee the event.
Several sponsorship levels are available including Bronze Highlights ($500), Silver Streaks ($1,000), Golden Locks (2,500), Platinum Hair ($5,000) to aid the organization in expanding its reach. In-kind donations are also welcomed in lieu of monetary gifts including, gift cards, airfare vouchers, hotel and spa packages, and professional sports merchandise.
“Hair loss reaches across all social, racial, and economic boundaries; it doesn’t pick and choose whom it will affect,” said Mercier.
Since launching in 2008, Mercier’s mission has expanded from offering “hair replacements” to include educational opportunities and community outreach. She and her team commissioned the”Gallery of Salons Rescue Team” (GSRT) outreach effort to serve survivors housed in Greater-Houston area shelters. Mercier was invited to The Rachael Ray Show to honor her as a “Harvey Hero” for her outreach efforts in providing hair care services for hundreds of Hurricane Harvey survivors left stranded after the storm.
Mercier’s desire to help others deal with the trauma of hair loss stemmed from her sister’s struggle with the condition. Her sister, Timothy Dade, a former Fashion Fair model was later diagnosed with cancer and passed away in 2009. In the wake of her death, Mercier is driven to ensure others do not suffer from the low self-esteem, lack of confidence and shame that plaque many with traumatic hair loss and invites the community to join her efforts in uplifting the spirits of individuals who suffer silently.
“We provide non-surgical hair replacement systems and wigs to underprivileged individuals suffering from hair loss based on funding availability in a private setting. This includes long or short-term hair loss due to: cancer, alopecia, lupus, burns and medicinal side effects,” said Mercier.
The nonprofit also assists adults and children who are being bullied because of their hair loss. The hair replacement systems give the illusion of hair restoration, boosting confidence and self-esteem which are critical elements of mental health and emotional stability.
To purchase tickets, sponsor a table, place an ad in the event’s souvenir booklet or to make a donation, click on hairdreamsbychristal.org. Mercier welcomes anyone in need of a hair replacement system to also visit hairdreamsbychristal.org to complete an application.