September 2011

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work to inspire Someone You Should Know: Amy Chazan By Elishah Oesch Scissors, blow dryers and styling combs galore fill a small but cozy Cost Cutters Salon. Situated inside Fitchberg's renowned Hospi- ceCare Inc. facility, the salon, much like the woman who runs it, is not exactly what you expect to find at a place most people associate with a bad (hair) day rather than a new 'do.' But the minute you walk inside the room, a feeling of light and life surround you. Ev- erything from the artwork and flowers, to the shy, smiling face of volunteer Amy Chazan seems to be bubbling over with life. Chazan, a volunteer with the facility's terminal patients, can't remember a time when styling hair wasn't a part of her life. "I've always loved to do hair. I [remember being] 8 years old and walking to my grandmother's house to put rollers in her hair," says Chazan. Making people look and feel beautiful has always been important to her, but like many of us, she's lived through more bad haircuts than she cares to remember. "I've made it through a lot of personal obstacles," says Chazan honestly. Obstacles like losing a child, domestic abuse, substance abuse and financial ruin. In fact, just over five years ago Chazan ad- mits she was lost and struggling to survive, until someone gave her advice that changed her life. "If you want self-esteem, you have to do estimable things," she repeats. Taking the message to heart, Chazan set out to make over her world. One step? Do good for others. Through her job at Cost Cut- ters, Chazan heard about the free salon the organization operates at HospiceCare Inc.'s Fitchburg facility, and decided to take a chance as a volunteer stylist. At first, she didn't know just how much she was brightening the day of the facility's patients. But over time, Chazan's four weekly shifts have made an impact that stays with her the rest of the week. Seeing the change in the patient's spirits was rewarding in itself, but Chazan found something for herself as well. "The more I came, the more I started to get out of it," she says. With each visit she felt herself getting stronger and healthier. Nonprofit Profile: HospiceCare Inc. What it is: A nonprofit, community-based hospice center providing care and support for patients with life- limiting conditions and their families. How you can volunteer: Vol- unteers assist by visiting patients in their homes, help- ing care for gardens, working in the on-site coffee shop, providing administrative support and more. How you can support: Join the numerous community and special events throughout the year, including a host of events this fall (don't miss the Butterfly Gala and Phil Hellmuth's Hold'em poker tournament!). Shop for the cause: Find deals and steals (from jewelry to furniture) or donate your gently used items at the east and west side HospiceCare Thrift Store locations. For more information, contact: (608) 276-4660 or After five years of volunteering at HospiceCare's salon, she can proudly say, "I went from being a victim to being a survivor, and so much more." Chazan's life is forever changed because of the people she's met at HospiceCare and because of the patients she's helped feel a bit better about themselves at a time they need it most. Of all the lessons Chazan has learned through this experience, she says the greatest is learning to simply appreciate life. It's a sense of gratitude for each day that comes from seeing others who may not have another day left. She sums it up this way: "When I leave here, I remember how lucky I am to have what I have, for everything I have in this life." ••• Elishah Oesch is co-anchor of WKOW27's Wake Up Wisconsin. See Chazan's story on Wake Up Wiscon- sin on Sept. 7 and 27 News at 10 on Sept. 8. 36 BRAVA Magazine September 2011 Photo by Brittney Scharine

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