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People Helping People: Beauty Bus

August 13, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
A local group is reaching out to terminally, or chronically ill, patients to help make their day a little brighter. The Beauty Bus Foundation is helping patients feel relaxed and beautiful with facials and makeovers.Karen Oliver, 51, is in the fight of her life. She was diagnosed with breast cancer four months ago.

"When you're getting chemo, you can't go to a public salon because -- white cell count -- you have to be very careful not to get any germs," said Oliver. "Them coming to you is heaven-sent. It's unbelievable."

With the help of volunteers from the Beauty Bus Foundation, Oliver's living room was turned into a beauty spa and salon for the day. She received a free facial and makeover. She calls it a blessing.

"You walk outside with your little scarf on [and] people have a tendency to look at you and go, 'Oh my gosh!' You know, like ... death," said Oliver. "And for people to touch you and be near you is amazing. It's something that you lose when you're battling cancer. And for them to come out, it's phenomenal ... phenomenal, just to be touched."

Alicia Liotta recently founded Beauty Bus after she lost a cousin to a degenerative illness.

"We said, 'Wait a minute. What if we could bring beauty and grooming services, which give people pleasure and joy ... and give them some dignity and make them feel good about themselves ... to everyone,'" said Liotta.

The nonprofit offers clients four services per year. Beauty Bus offers everything from hairstyling and facials, to manicures and makeup.

"Our goal is to bring respect and dignity and some happiness," said Liotta.

Liotta hopes volunteers and more donations will help them purchase a bus to go along with the name.

Oliver, who just finished a strong bout of chemotherapy, says she draws strength from her faith. She also says the beauty services also go a long way in helping her stay strong on the road to recovery.

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