I am fortunate to experience so many wonderful people, places and moments through my love for hair. Being a hairstylist, my job is to educate, create and inspire women, but for me that's just the beginning.
More than pruning the tresses of ladies and the crown of gents, I truly believe it is my responsibility to help people of all ages feel better from the inside out. Whenever I can, I also love to help raise money with my styling skills. Which is what makes the story I’m about to share, so positive and fun.
Let me introduce you to a very special friend of mine, Lexi Lehrman. I first met Lexi when she accompanied her mom and brothers for a haircut. Within no time I was taken with Lexi’s politeness, smile and her overall positive energy. As I got to know her, I learned that this dynamic 13 year old had raised over $40,000 to support the fight against breast cancer and was the founder of the Love Lexi Fund (www.lovelexi.org).
Let's jump into my Q&A with Lexi so you can hopefully give her your support.
Antonio- Hey girly!
A- Can you share with us when you realized you wanted to devote your time to help others?
L- Well, when I was 8 years old my mother and I went to Dunkin Donuts and I saw a pink donut and thought to myself “everybody loves donuts, they should use them to raise money for charity!” On my way home I looked outside the window and saw a pink breast cancer license plate and looked at the pink donut then looked at the license plate again. I immediately associated the two and thought instead of waiting for someone else to use the donuts to raise money…what about me?
That night we went online and found the Susan G. Komen Miami/Ft. Lauderdale Chapter. I sent them an email asking if they had a way for people to donate online in honor of someone and that my birthday was coming up and I’d like to raise money instead of getting gifts. The next day I got an email back and they said no, but to hold on and see what they could do. They got back to us a little while later and asked if I’d test out a new “Friends Asking Friends” online donation program and everything took off from there.
A Birthday Party with A Purpose was born and I raised about $3,600 for my 9th birthday! It was very exciting!
A- In what other ways do you raise money for cancer?
L- From this first experience, I quickly learned the gift of saving a life is much greater than receiving any birthday present. So now for my birthday, or even the holidays, I ask friends and family to donate to the Love Lexi Fund instead of presents. Don’t get me wrong, I always appreciate the few that slip through! But I honestly don’t really NEED anything other than love, food and a roof over my head. And absolutely NOTHING compares to the feeling when you’ve truly helped make a difference in someone else’s life. I know you know what I’m talking about!!!
A- So I see you're an artist, how did you come up with the idea of combining art with your cause?
L- Well, if there are two things I love to do they are helping people and creating art. My birthday parties turned into painting parties when I tried to come up with something to do that was fun for my 10th birthday. Since I love to paint and my friends wouldn’t be watching me really “open” any gifts as an activity, I figured I’d give them something fun to do. So I asked each one of my friends to paint their own interpretation of the breast cancer ribbon. Even the guys had fun! Then we went bowling. At first I thought I’d sell the paintings to raise money, then a company called Mail America stepped up and offered to make them into posters. I put them all together in a collage and poof! The first Love Lexi poster! We sold them at the Komen Race for the Cure that October (which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month) and raised all kinds of money with 100% of the proceeds going to the Komen Miami/Ft. Lauderdale Chapter!!!
At that first race, it was incredible to have so many people come to our Love Lexi Tent, see the poster and begin to cry. I knew I had discovered my mission. I called it Art For The Cure and it is now a project that has taken on a life of it’s own! I pick a theme for the poster each year and have had some incredible opportunities to paint additional posters with incredible artists like Romero Britto and Ferdie Pacheco, who’ve helped me raise even more money. Many people still ask for the “Peace for the Cure” poster I did with Ferdie, who was Mohammed Ali’s fight doctor!
A- I was fortunate enough to donate haircuts to your last event, tell us more about it and the upcoming event on October 15th?
L- This year has been a tough one for me. My Auntie Mary was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer around my birthday, I was so sad I couldn’t pull together a painting party. But a few months later, when my aunt was going through a particularly tough time, I heard my mom tell her that she was her “wing girl.” Bam! I had it. I asked the Komen Miami/Ft. Lauderdale chapter executive director, Bobbie Meyers to help me pull together some survivors for a painting party and told her my theme. She loved it and helped me immediately. So this year my theme is “Every Survivor Needs A Wing Girl.” We had each of the survivors paint their “wing girl” stories at Painting with a Twist in Miami – who donated everything. Although my mom brought pink Champaign and I made pink cupcakes, your gift certificates for all the survivors to get a chance to be styled by you (we gave them a copy of your Allure Magazine article LOL) was really the big hit of the night!
I decided to send a canvas to my Auntie Mary and do a “wing girl” painting and poster with her. She drew it and I painted it. The two “angel” hearts represent her daughter, my cousin, Missy and my Nana,
her and my mom’s Mother.
We lost them both a few years ago. Not to cancer but it sure made us very aware of how difficult it is to survive losing someone so precious.
I’m very grateful that all the survivors who painted with me are planning on joining me on stage at the Race for the Cure that day!!! We will be promoting “our” poster (my painting is the green one with the pink ribbon) and we will be selling them hopefully like hot cakes (as my Dad might say).
A- What advice do you have for kids (and adults) who are considering devoting time to helping others?
L- All I have to say is find a cause you really believe in and try your best! My mom gets all mushy about it and is always encouraging my brothers and I to do things that “nurture your soul.” And it is true…mushy but true. This work really nurtures that good feeling you get by making a difference. I’m Jewish and in the Talmud it has a passage (roughly translated) “If you save one soul it is as if you save the world.” I think just about every religion has a belief that supports that thought. I think keeping that intention in mind is what can motivate us all to do good things together.