To offer free care to women with cancer, Santina De Marco has imagined a circular economy. The sums collected thanks to its customers who come for permanent make-up at low prices, are paid to the “Kans’hair” association. Many patients sent by Draguignan hospital thus benefit from Santina’s know-how, free of charge.
Located in the Epsilon 1 craft area of Saint-Raphaël, the “Kans’hair” association wants “to restore self-esteem to the sick by helping them to face treatments that are often psychologically traumatic in addition to being physically painful. By taking care of them, the clients also make a charitable gesture and help the patients”. An exemplary united beauty.
Camouflage scars, recreate an areola
Santina De Marco, passionate about aesthetics from an early age, attended a vocational school after having a serious road accident.
“I had nasty scars and I put a big fringe in front of my forehead. But at 18, I tried to make them less visible and I met Doctor Robert El Haddad, a plastic surgeon in Paris. He reattached the facial muscle, repaired and refined my scars. But I was still missing my eyebrow. He had traveled to learn different techniques and he was the one who told me about permanent makeup for my eyebrow. That was there. I was thirty years old and it was not widespread. He directed me to an expert and I took training to specialize in becoming a restorative dermographer myself”, says the professional.
Return a look, a smile, a breast
Santina De Marco then joined the practice of Doctor El Haddad. His work completed the aesthetic comfort allowing to better support the consequences of illnesses or accidents. “He operated to camouflage cancer scars, children’s harelips, burnt people, and I redid eyebrows, lips, I recreated breast areolas. I worked with him for twenty years. We relieved so many people who felt so bad about themselves and could no longer accept themselves. It’s a great story because he is a surgeon of great humanity who has helped tens of thousands of people”, she continues.
“We worked to make people more beautiful, to find each other. I was always very moved and touched to see the faces that lit up when they looked at themselves in a mirror after the reconstructions. People who no longer dared meet, explains the restorative dermograph. It is true that it is not covered by social security, yet it is extremely important for patients because by losing their hair, their eyebrows, their breasts, they no longer recognize themselves.
But an orphan disease has caught up with Santina on her generous journey. A rare immune-mediated myasthenia gravis affecting the neuromuscular junction. Its manifestations reflect a transmission defect between the nerve and the muscle, responsible for a muscular weakness which worsens with the effort. “All of a sudden my arm was falling off, my leg was not responding, a whole side was not moving, I couldn’t swallow, more and more memory loss. It took doctors years to diagnose my illness and relieve me with adequate treatments. A long struggle”, confides this Raphaeloise at heart who trains nurses in her practice.
Declared 80% disabled, she left Paris and its too heavy pace eight years ago to settle in Saint-Raphaël and be closer to her three children, two girls aged 29 and 27 in Aix-en- Provence and a 20-year-old son, soldier at 21e RIMa. This is where she implemented her association “Kans’hair”. A cabinet that is always full: “I would like patients to be able to access this care despite the absence of a commitment from social security”.
Need for patrons to finance the equipment
“It’s not trivial to see your damaged body. It’s traumatic to have no hair, especially after chemo, the side effects of which are devastating. I couldn’t even walksays Monique (1). And it feels great to be taken care of like this by someone caring who wants to make you beautiful.
“It’s not a luxury, adds Clara. It’s part of self-confidence. If you feel good, you feel more alive. I suffered four cancers and I know what I’m talking about. Without his integrity , you feel alone. By finding my eyebrows, I found my identity. It is not normal that social security does not reimburse. Santina offers care for the sick and the permanent make-up that she practices for her clients is very inexpensive, 80 euros whereas it is 200 to 300 in a beauty workshop. There are a lot of ladies who come and who always come out delighted. With this sum, she provides free care for the sick but she has need patrons to finance the equipment. Santina is in the donation and what she does, to redo a look, a smile, a breast, it is very important”.
“With my eyebrows, I found my identity”
This is confirmed by two young sisters in their twenties, who came from Le Luc to have their eyebrows treated: “We paid 200 euros in another place but the make-up did not hold and it was missed, we have to redo everything. And it’s nice to know that our payment will be used for an aesthetic repair of a lady who has the cancer”then Djemila and again Nora: “Santina took care of my lips and I’m delighted. I’m coming back for my skin. It’s very serious here”.
Clara is a practitioner in brief therapy, a master in hypnosis, in neurolinguistic programming… “When we feel that we can die soon, we become fragile. I would like to complete what Santina offers in order to accompany patients in a global care, from the outside and from the inside”.
1. The first name has been changed.
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