Hair Matters, a Maine-based nonprofit, invites the community to an open house and gallery exhibition Thursday, Sept. 30 at its administrative office space in Cape Elizabeth.

The event runs from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the IGA Plaza at 327 Ocean House Road, Suite 5, and is free and open to the public.

Hair Matters is a network of thought leaders, professional cosmetologists, and collaborative cancer warriors that provides salon services, education, and custom wigs to cancer patients facing hair loss. In operation for six years out of Ocean Waves Studio in South Portland, Hair Matters was founded by Debby Porter of Biddeford, herself a breast cancer survivor and stylist, to deliver innovative resources by collaborating with medical teams, community partners, and salon professionals.

“We’re excited for the public to meet our clients, board members, volunteers, and community collaborators,” said Porter. “This is an opportunity for more people to learn about the critical work we’re doing in the realm of cancer care. We’re thrilled to fling open our doors and share our life-changing mission of restoring identity, vitality, and hope for everyone affected by cancer.”

The open house will include a gallery of black-and-white client portraits taken by Reginald Groff, who also created a powerful testimonial video about Hair Matters. The video will be screened onsite at 6 p.m. and again at 7 p.m. Mulled cider, wine, and light refreshments will be served. Masks are respectfully requested.

According to a 2015 study published in the journal Psycho-Oncology, “alopecia (hair loss) was consistently ranked as one of the most distressing side effects of cancer treatment. Survivors report that hair loss disrupts how they experience their bodies, interact with others, and conceptualize their body image beyond treatment.”

Hair Matters recognizes the profound psychological impact of hair loss. As an donations-driven identity restoration movement, Hair Matters is building on its momentum to expand its services by creating a network of salon affiliates throughout Maine, New England, and the country. For more information on how to get involved, visit HairMatters2me.com.

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