Nail tech Sam Rivenbark started The Mani-Cure Project in 2009 to help women with cancer.
Nail tech Sam Rivenbark started The Mani-Cure Project in 2009 to help women with cancer. “I go into the homes of women currently battling cancer and give them a manicure and pedicure once a month at no cost and the implements and products that are used on them are left with them to ensure the highest level of sanitation,” she says. “Out of respect, when I go into these women’s homes I always cover my hair in a hair wrap. I do not wear gloves. The women already feel segregated because of their diagnoses and that human-to-human contact during the massage allows them to feel normal even if it is for only 10 minutes. I never knew how much a manicure and pedicure could change someone’s life until I began doing this. I cry with these women and laugh and let them know that I am here for them to make them feel pretty and special and I love every second of it.”
Cancer has been a big part of her life, says Rivenbark. “My mother was diagnosed with cervical cancer the day I was born. My Grams died of ovarian cancer in 2006, and my mother-in-law was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008. I noticed with my grandmother that the chemotherapy was causing her nails to thicken up and flake. I gave her a mani and pedi every week during the two years that she fought and I learned that that little bit of care made it so much easier for her to fight. I decided then, at 17, I knew what I had to do.”
In 2009 she received her licensed and opened up her salon, Edenton, N.C.-based East Coast Acrylic and set out to raise support for The Mani-Cure Project. “Not many people get to do what they love for a living. For me, every day I live my dream of helping women during their battle so that one day together as women we will win the war against cancer,” she says.