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The Total Works gives ‘Hands On’ Treatment

Staff at The Total Works Hair and Body Salon will host its third annual “Hands On” event Monday, Oct. 3, to treat breast cancer survivors.

While the event raises money for the American Cancer Society and Kim Rowden Memorial Breast Cancer Fund, the activity focuses on giving breast cancer survivors a day at the spa.

“Our event is unique in that the event is for the survivors,” Jo Kelley, salon and spa coordinator, said.

Kelley said flyers will be mailed to past and potential sponsors asking them to donate $45 to the Kim Rowden Fund in the name of a breast cancer survivor. The survivor will be contacted to schedule two or three treatments, choosing from a relaxation massage or facial, or a beauty treatment on the hair or nails.

Kelley said the services are “mini” services, only lasting 20 or 30 minutes to allow everyone “to be touched.”

Not only will all of The Total Works staff donate their time to serving breast cancer survivors, but Kelley said she also pulls in “outside help,” using massage therapists and nail technicians from other businesses who donate their time. Last year, Kelley said massage therapists from Knoxville Reflexology assisted with giving massages to the breast cancer survivors.

Kelley said the “Hands On” services are from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. followed by a reception from 6 to 8 p.m., “which everyone is invited to attend.”

Kelley said last year “the place was packed with people. [There’s] tremendous food – breakfast, lunch and appetizers.”

Entertainment is lined up, which Kelley said is also donated. “Everything is donated, the entertainment is donated, people are donating time, even the outside staff, they donate their time,” she said.

“Hands On” began three years ago when Kelly Snider Baker, daughter of Lesa Phillips McCulley who owns The Total Works, heard about a doctor in California who treated his cancer patients to a day at the spa. Baker, who is a member of Executive Women International and volunteers at the Baptist Health System Foundation, along with her mother and grandmother, Avis Phillips, decided to give Knoxville area cancer survivors the same treatment.

Sonai Hylton, who also co-owns The Total Works, also supported the cause because her mother died of breast cancer.

Kelley said the first year was “very grassroots” and only The Total Works staff was involved. The second year, Baptist Health System Foundation participated as a sponsor, and “Hands On” served about 100 survivors and raised $5,000 for the Kim Rowden Fund. “A small amount considering,” Kelley said.

Kelley said this year she hopes a corporate sponsor will decide to donate money “to have their name on the event.”

In 2005 Baker, McCulley and Phillips received the Joy Dirksen Baker Award, but “the staff at The Total Works really support this. Even though the three ladies got the award, it’s based on the work done here, and they accepted the award with the backing of the staff,” Kelley said.

Even male staff support the cause with one massage therapist and three stylists donating their services, Kelley said.

All of the monetary donations from the “Hands On” event are donated to the Kim Rowden Fund, “none of it is kept here,” Kelley said.

This fund was chosen because Rowden, who was a Farragut resident, did not survive breast cancer. She was diagnosed at 25 and passed away three years later. During Rowden’s treatment, doctors discovered two genes of breast cancer that were previously unknown, Kelley said.

The Knoxville Comprehensive Breast Center established the fund and the money stays in East Tennessee to assist women who cannot afford diagnostic treatment, Kelley said.

Kelley said Rowden’s family is currently being studied as many family members have been diagnosed with different types of cancer.

“Marilyn Rowden, Kim Rowden’s mother, comes and spends the day here and the survivors treat her like a celebrity. They want to meet her,” Kelley said.

The survivors also form a sisterhood, Kelley said, going to dinner after their day at the spa.

“A lot of survivors sponsor themselves,” Kelley said. To sponsor a cancer survivor or donate to the Kim Rowden Fund, contact Kelley at 865-630-5654.


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