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. The implements and products I use 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 and I do not wear gloves. These 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 with them and let them know I am here for them to make them feel pretty and special.”
Cancer has played a big part in Rivenbark’s life. “My mother was diagnosed with cervical cancer the day I was born,” she says. “My Grams died of ovarian cancer in 2006 and my mother-in-law was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008. I noticed with my Grams 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 Rivenbark received her license and opened up my her salon, Edenton, N.C.-based East Coast Acrylic. Then to get support and products for The Mani-Cure Project, she contacted various nail companies. After sending over 100 e-mails, OPI came through for her. “Because of that my salon is exclusive to OPI,” she says.
“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. Everyone who comes into my salon is quickly reminded of The Mani-Cure Project by the cancer polishes and The Mani-Cure sign and donation jar that I take what I do seriously.”
Beauty for Good spotlights beauty products, services, and events that benefit a good cause. To be considered for this column, leave a comment below or e-mail details to features editor Judy at Judy.Lessin[at]bobit.com.