This is a guest post from former Paul Mitchell® Platform Artist, Jeanne Braa
As a former Paul Mitchell Platform Artist, as well as a stage partner and dear friend to Paul Mitchell (the man!), the Paul Mitchell community is one that is near and dear to my heart. I am thrilled to have an opportunity to share my story of blending my love for the beauty industry and my mission to help prevent, fight and survive cancer. Here is my #MITCHManuary story:
Some years ago, I met Dean Foster. As an orthopedic surgeon, his high-pressure daily environment, rigorous training and perfection in the operating room Dean was disciplined and had an intense fix-the-problem stamina. Ironically, my love for beauty and my keep-it-simple attitude was attracted him to me. We began dating and in 2003 we married. We had both retired; Dean retired from orthopedic surgery and I had ended my 20 years with Paul Mitchell. Who would have thought a hairdresser and a doctor could be so good for each other?
When Paul Mitchell the man lost his battle to pancreatic cancer in 1989, I experienced my first loss to cancer and it was devastating to me and the entire JPMS community. Little did I know this experience would prepare me for my life-calling. After meeting and marrying Dean, we blended our passions for the beauty industry and advocacy for health and wellness. We began educating beauty professionals on what they can do to help prevent, detect, fight, and survive cancer, going on missions and serving as chaplains at the hospital in Kona, Hawaii. I would have never dreamed I would do this kind of work, yet it brought a rich experience to my life and an understanding of beauty from a different perspective.
Our mission to prevent and fight cancer was fueled by Dean’s many experiences with the disease. His family was riddled with cancer diagnoses. Dean’s mother had lost her cancer battle before we met and his father had a recurrence of prostate cancer. Soon after we began our work, Dean met Dr. Mark Scholz, founder of Prostate Cancer Research Institute (PCRI) and practicing oncologist at Prostate Cancer Specialists in Marina Del Rey, CA. He specialized in advanced care.
After 4 years of marriage, Dean was experiencing some discomfort and I made him get checked much to his resistance (a man, a doctor, a very sensitive issue)! He was diagnosed as positive for prostate cancer. He chose natural care (raw vegan diet, toxin free, and stress free living in Hawaii) for two years and carefully monitored his diagnosis with frequent prostate tests.
Dean’s dad was fighting an advanced diagnosis and we returned to spend his last two months with him. By this time Dr. Mark Scholz became Dean’s doctor. Dean was treated and was now NED (no evidence of disease)! Dr. Scholtz and his family became dear friends and he asked Dean for a one year commitment as Medical Director for PCRI because of his intense research on treatment options available to men and survivorship.
As friends and partners in the fight against cancer, they continue to research and seek out the latest advances in understanding how cancer works and the latest screening and treatment options. We support PCRI and the options they offer men to prevent, detect and fight prostate cancer.
Dean’s interest is stem cell research and immune therapy for all cancer types. We also support self-screening, and last year, we created Eyes On Cancer, an awareness program to train beauty professionals to be detect of the signs of skin cancer on their guests and recommend them to see a doctor for diagnosis and treatment when necessary. We are beginning with skin cancer because, unlike most other cancers that are hidden until they become more advanced, you can physically see it.
Our love for one another has grown under the stress of a cancer diagnosis and it has been a learning experience that we have used to help others. I’d like to extend my gratitude to John Paul Mitchell Systems for the opportunity to spread the word and to Angus for continuing to share his heart and journey through his dedication and love given to his father’s legacy. MITCH® is more than a men’s hair care line. It’s a resource to lift the innermost man to be stronger, healthier and take better care of themselves and others.
For more information on cancer prevention and detection, check out these sites and articles: