Aldergrove AOK recipients grateful for personal makeover

It’s been an unforgettable month for two Aldergrove women.

Each year, through the Aldergrove Seventh-day Adventist Church, volunteers renovate the homes of families in need through the Acts of Kindness Extreme Home Repair program.

And not only did Misty Shufflebotham and Laura Canessa have their family homes renovated, courtesy of the selfless volunteers and businesses involved with the program, they underwent a personal makeover of their own.

The afternoon of May 13, Canessa and Shufflebotham received VIP treatment, each receiving a free pedicure, manicure, facial, and massage, thanks to a donation from Langley realtor Diane Sparks-Cassidy in partnership with Mark Anthony Academy of Cosmetology, which provided the services and also helped cover costs for the pampering.

“It was absolutely wonderful,” said Canessa, who enjoyed her first-ever experience at a spa. “I’d have to say the best part was the body massage and facial. I suffer from ruptured discs in my back and the massage gave me a couple hours of complete relaxation and no pain. It was pretty fabulous.”

“The best way to explain it I was living the life of the rich and famous,” Shufflebotham said.

The entire process took about four hours and Shufflebotham said she “enjoyed every minute of it.”

“I almost fell asleep during the massage,” she added.

The Shufflebothams left their home April 30 to allow the EHR team to do their work, and then returned on Victoria Day, May 18.

Canessa and Shufflebotham met for the first time at Mark Anthony Academy of Cosmetology, the day of their personal makeovers.

“We talked and compared notes, and our stories different,” Shufflebotham said. “The most common thing for both of us was, we both thought there were more deserving families than us. She is a very nice lady.”

This is the fifth year that Sparks-Cassidy, from Prudential Power Play Realty, has funded this treatment for a recipient of the annual AOK Extreme Home Repair project – and this time around there were two.

“When I first found out about AOK I thought, ‘Hey, the house gets a makeover, why doesn’t the owner get a makeover?’” Sparks-Cassidy explained.

Launie Morgan, senior education administrator with Mark Anthony Academy of Cosmetology, has also been a key contributor the past couple of years.

Morgan noted that eight students – four with each of the two recipients – offered their skills.

The Mark Anthony school has helped other similar causes, including donating their services to seniors in retirement homes and pampering single moms through community church groups.

Regarding the AOK Extreme Home Repair recipients, Morgan said: “We’re happy to help. I realize their homes are getting a makeover and it’s nice for them to get a makeover, too. For many of these women, there’s no opportunity for them to spend a whole day at the spa. It just makes you feel good.”

Generous donation

When Sparks-Cassidy went to Mark Anthony to visit the ladies as they were having their hair done, she discovered that Shufflebotham has a surprisingly common condition called alopecia, which is a thinning of the hair in women.

This is a condition Sparks-Cassidy is familiar with as a family member of hers has alopecia.

The student who did Shufflebotham’s hair advised Sparks-Cassidy of 360 Hair, a Langley company that supplies hair solutions for women.

Sparks-Cassidy contacted 360 Hair owner Helene Russell that afternoon, and explained the mission of AOK, and asked if she would consider contributing her expertise of hair solutions.

Russell didn’t hesitate.

“She said ‘Have her come in tomorrow I will take care of her,’” Sparks-Cassidy related.  

The next day Shufflebotham met Russell, and in less than an hour later walked out with a $1,300 hairpiece donated by Russell.

“The generosity of Helene is astounding to me. She has changed Misty’s life,” Sparks-Cassidy said.

“I was honored to have the opportunity to help Misty overcome a hair affliction that many women have to deal with but don’t realize what a simple solution there is for them that I offer,” Russell said. “I can provide real hair that feels and looks like their own hair, natural hair giving them the confidence and pride that they have desired. What I do on a daily basis for women with this condition has the emotional rewards that cannot be expressed.”

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