Vivo are proud to be ongoing supporters of Sweet Louise, offering free hair and beauty services to nominated members. This October, during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we will be sharing some of their heartbreaking, inspiring, and beautiful stories with you.
CAROLE OLIVER'S STORY
Carole Oliver, a member of Sweet Louise, has bright greeny-blue eyes and sharp cheekbones, one of those oval-faced beauties who can pull off a shaved head. In fact, once Carole learned that she would probably lose all her hair during cancer treatment, she took matters into her own hands and did just that. “It was 2014. I had already had my mastectomy and was just about to start chemo.” she reflects. “I had heard that lots of women lose big clumps of hair in the shower, or wake up with it all over their pillow, and I didn’t want that. If I was going to lose my hair, I wanted it to be on my terms”. So Carole signed up for Shave for a Cure, shaving her hair off herself while raising $2,000 for the charity. It’s a reflection of how Carole has walked the path of having Stage 4 Breast Cancer - with courage and inspiration.
‘Inspirational’ is a word that comes up frequently when talking about Carole. At Vivo Mairangi Bay, where Carole is having her hair done by Salon Manager, Gary Stockton, two of Carole’s friends come in to say hello. Sandra met Carole at ante-natal class, while Anna’s son is in the same class at Carole’s 7 year old boy. “If it were either one of us,” Sandra says, a finger pointing at herself and Anna, "I think we would just shut the door and hide away. But Carole just won’t do that”. There is a close bond between them all - when Carole is getting her hair rinsed off both women regale me with stories of Carole’s bravery in the face of such a difficult situation.
"Someone wise reminded me I don’t know the future, I can’t know what I don’t know. So now, I just take it One Day At A Time, and that works for me.”
Carole says that while some days are hard, she lives by a philosophy that really helps. “I used to worry about Jack a lot”, she says of her son, who was 3 at the time of her diagnosis, “But then someone wise reminded me I don’t know the future, I can’t know what I don’t know. So now, I just take it One Day At A Time, and that works for me.” Carole shows me photos on her phone as she talks about her husband, with whom she just celebrated 10 years of marriage, and her boy and dog, Pip (“She’s part cat I think!”). Her face lights up as she scrolls through the pictures, and it’s pretty clear that she certainly doesn't take any day for granted. They're filled with love and joy.
Gary, who has been doing Carole’s hair for 1.5 years, says of those living with cancer, “If I can offer a Sweet Louise client anything, I want them to know that we are here for them. We are experts in hair - this means for cancer patients too. We understand the hair growth cycle, how to take care of fragile hair and how to grow it back.” Gary says. “Looking good helps - some love and attention is really important when you’re feeling low or unwell." Carol agrees “My spirits have really been lifted!” she smiles, touching her trendy pixie cut, the perfect style for a bold and inspirational woman.
Content by Tereze Taber
ABOUT SWEET LOUISE
In 2005, Scott Perkins established Sweet Louise, named after his late-wife who had died from incurable breast cancer. Today, Sweet Louise supports hundreds of women across New Zealand who are living with metastatic breast cancer, to help them feel supported and cared for in their journey.