TEMPLE HILLS, Md. - A cosmetologist in Prince George’s County is helping women with cancer as they deal with the crushing loss of their hair following chemotherapy treatments.
DeJuan Burns said she always dreamed of helping people look their best, ever since she was a little girl.
"When I was a child, I always played with Barbie dolls, and do different styles and things like that," she described.
For Burns, the freedom of being creative and revamping her clients is a passion she’s happy to live every day. She said seeing her customers’ transformations, inside and out, confirms she’s doing what she was born to do.
"I've had people cry,” Burns recalled. “I've had people go out and tell everybody they know, take my flyers and share it on social media and I think that's really nice.”
But for some, it's about more than just vanity and a new hairstyle. Empathizing with millions of people who have cancer and other illnesses that cause hair loss, Burns gives her clients confidence, hope and strength.
“I thought about the wigs,” Burns said. “Some people don't have enough hair for me to do sewn-in or crochet style so I say wigs are the new weaves."
Each custom wig is Burns’ way of giving back. She makes each one by hand and in just 30 minutes.
Camille Kelley can be seen wearing a smile from ear-to-ear these days, but 10 years ago she received news that changed her life.
Kelley remembers being told, "’You've got cancer in your ovaries and your cervix.’ So I had to have a hysterectomy. It was devastating. So many medicines, treatments going on and afterward, I was 100 percent better, but the traces of treatment left the damage. That's when it got to my hair and a woman's hair is her crown and glory."
Kelley proudly shed the scarves and hats as she sat confidently with her "crown" - and said she now feels complete and empowered thanks to Burns.
But Burns isn’t just helping women throughout her neighborhood. She’s restoring hope in throughout the region. If women who are suffering from hair loss are too sick or embarrassed to come to her salon in Temple Hills, Burns takes the salon to them.
Her De Glam Shop is mobile and offers free in-home beauty services for clients who need them. She’s hoping the women she helps feel inspired to serve their communities just like the women she’s been inspired by.
"Oprah, Michelle Obama, Mary McCloud Bethune, she's actually a distant relative of mine. I see they are very courageous, strong and they pay it forward so I just want to be like them or be the best that I can be in my field," she explained.