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Stylists cut hair for anti-bullying awareness

Sunday's Cut-A-Thon raised money for Rylie's Rainbow Foundation - an organization created in memory of 13-year-old Rylie Wagner who took her own life in April of 2017. Since their daughter's death, Rylie's parents have pushed to spread a message of kindness through the foundation. (Megan Sanchez/KRCG 13)

Stylists' chairs were filled Sunday morning as guests opted to trim, chop and style their hair. The sound of blow dryers and casual conversation could be heard throughout the salon.

At Salon Nefisa, these sights and sounds are usual. But Sunday's Cut-A-Thon was a first.

Volunteering their time, stylists came in to do haircuts for eight hours straight at a discounted price. The salon isn't normally open on Sundays, but April 22 their doors opened promptly at 9:00 a.m. to greet the first guests - who were volunteering their time, too.

Sunday's Cut-A-Thon raised money for Rylie's Rainbow Foundation - an organization created in memory of 13-year-old Rylie Wagner who took her own life in April 2017. Since their daughter's death, Rylie's parents have pushed to spread a message of kindness through the foundation.

Renee Overstreet, Rylie's mom, said the funds raised at Salon Nefisa will help grow the foundation. She said they plan to train board members about grief support and hope to host their first "BE KIND" event this summer.

The shampoo bottle-lined shelves and smiling stylists bring back many memories for Overstreet. She said she and her daughter spent many "girls' days" at Salon Nefisa.

Rylie loved to express herself through her hair with different cuts and styles, and Overstreet said the stylists cultivated an environment for Rylie where that was encouraged.

"She wanted to just be different," Overstreet said. "She loved to come here because they embraced that difference and all of the stylists just loved to do that for her. They made her feel like a princess when she left here no matter what."

Salon founder and owner Sara El-Toumi said when they discussed hosting a fundraising event, her staff overwhelmingly voted to raise funds for bullying prevention. El-Toumi did not get to know Rylie personally, but said several of her stylists did.

"Rylie really loved coming here," she said. "This was a bright spot for her. She felt a lot of care."


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