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Cancer Survivors Month: Lani’s Story in Her Own Words

June is not only Pride month, but it is also Cancer Survivor month.

For almost two years, amika has supported HairToStay, the first and only national 501(c)(3)) non-profit organization dedicated to reducing chemo-induced hair loss by increasing access to scalp cooling treatments - a system that works to prevent hair loss during chemotherapy - for those patients who could otherwise not afford these treatments. We truly believe in the organization’s mission because we intimately understand how important hair is to your sense of confidence and self-expression. We believe in the power of feeling beautiful and true to yourself, no matter what that best version of yourself looks like to you.

Founded in 2016, HairToStay began with a mission of building a nationwide subsidy program for scalp cooling technology, supported by partnerships with both philanthropic and commercial organizations. Because scalp cooling has only been recently granted FDA clearance, it is not covered by most insurance providers and thus is inaccessible for many undergoing chemotherapy treatment. HairToStay has raised over 1.5 million dollars since its inception and has awarded subsidies to over 900 patients nationally.

Since October 2018, we have consistently donated one percent of all e- commerce sales from to HairToStay and will continue to do so (a total of $188k since the beginning of our partnership). Our friends + customers also have the option to provide an additional donation to the organization at checkout.

We think it’s important that we elevate the voice of a cancer survivor in order for our audience to understand the full scope of a cancer diagnosis and the emotional and financial toll it can take. Read the inspirational story of one of our Territory Brand Managers, Lani, where she talks about her battle with breast cancer and what losing her hair meant in her journey.

my journey through hair

Hi readers, my name is Lani McManus and I am a Territory Brand Manager with amika. I’ve been working in the haircare industry for over 10 years and my role has been heavily influenced by beauty and the need to look a certain way. Having long hair was important to me, it was a large part of my self-esteem and gave me the confidence to be in front of others. Unexpectedly, my world was turned upside down with a diagnosis of Stage 3 Breast cancer in December of 2017.

The harsh reality of hearing the ‘C’ word is that you feel that every aspect of your life is now out of your control. Not only was I now fighting for my life, but I had to now endure a double mastectomy, 16 weeks of chemotherapy, followed by 28 days of radiation. I cannot describe the physical and emotional trauma that I went through, and one of the most difficult situations was dealing with the loss of my hair. The memory will live with me forever of grabbing fistfuls of my hair as the drugs took hold, before asking my husband to shave it off reminiscent of the scene in the movie 50/50. I tried my best to avoid the world by wearing scarves, hats and staying at home so that I could hide behind my insecurities. At my lowest point I wondered if I would ever have a normal life or feel good about myself again?

Fast forward to Oct 1, 2018 and the last day of my radiation treatment, ironically Breast Cancer Month, I got to a point I never thought I would. Through the unconditional love and support of my family and friends, I endured, and came out the other side a different person. My scars tell my story and they are daily reminders of the times when life tried to break me but failed. With a newfound perspective on the world, it was at this point that I discovered a brand that I really wanted to be a part of.

One aspect of amika that resonated with me was the partnership with HairToStay. A nonprofit organization that provides awareness and funding for scalp cooling. This treatment gives cancer patients the opportunity to save their hair while undergoing chemotherapy. This cause hit home and it has inspired me to want to share my story. I want to help others that are faced with the news of cancer, so they don’t have to fight while wearing their diagnosis.

We want to thank Lani and let her know how much we appreciate her, as we know this was not an easy thing for her to do. She is incredibly brave for sharing her story, and we hope this can shed some light on what Cancer Survivors Month represents to those affected.

To get a deeper understanding of the organization, read an interview we conducted with HairToStay Co-Founder, Bethany Hornthal.

By Lani McManus + Becca King

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