Reporter Alissa Bridges receives a deep conditioning treatment at Divine Designs in Brandon as part of Rapunzel Day.

Whether we admit it or not, hair is kind of a big deal. It’s a source of pride and identity for both men and women. A Rapunzel Day event is not necessarily about learning to maintain long hair like Rapunzel’s; it’s about helping cancer patients keep their hair.
The Rapunzel Project, founded by two breast cancer survivors, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping cancer patients keep their hair during chemotherapy by using cold cap therapy. Shirley Biligmeier, co-founder of The Rapunzel Project, first learned about cold cap therapy during her search for a wig after being diagnosed with cancer.
Cold cap therapy technology has been widely used in Europe for 15 years and involves the use of special caps, frozen to -22 degrees fahrenheit, worn before, during and after each chemotherapy treatment. The cooling of the hair follicles prevents thermotherapy toxins from reaching them, preserving the follicles and therefore preserving the patient’s hair.
In September, Divine Designs hosted their own Rapunzel Day event, where customer’s had the opportunity to add a deep conditioning treatment, provided by Kenra Professional, onto their appointment. Instead of paying for the cost of the treatment, customers donated the money straight to the Rapunzel Project. “As soon as we learned about The Rapunzel Project and heard of the opportunity to host a Rapunzel Day, we were inspired to host one here,” said Akashi Patidar, business manager of Divine Designs.
“Knowing that a patient can keep their hair during chemotherapy can help liberate a patient emotionally and physically from the ‘cancer patient’ label and improve self-image, dignity and moral—vital, yet often overlooked, elements of overall wellness,” said Nancy Marshall, co-founder of The Rapunzel Project.
More than 1.5 million new cancer cases were diagnosed in the United States in 2010. About eight percent of men and women decide not to have chemotherapy because they are afraid to lose their hair. Kenra Professional is supporting The Rapunzel Project’s mission to inform patients that they have an option. “We really want to help spread awareness about The Rapunzel Project,” said Amber Humphrey, senior regional manager of the southeast for Kenra Professionals. “These Rapunzel Day events really are about educating the public and making a difference.”
For more information about The Rapunzel Project, Kenra Professional or Divine Designs, please visit, or

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