PLYMOUTH — Wednesday was a day of “firsts” for Patt Houghton. Unbeknownst to her, Houghton’s sister-in-law Donna Kelly had nominated her for a Hello Gorgeous makeover at C.C. Hair Co. in Plymouth. Houghton was treated to her first pedicure, first facial and first hair coloring treatment as part of the makeover — all of which was a complete surprise to her.
“(Houghton) has always given of herself, and I thought it was her turn to be pampered,” said Kelly, watching with misty eyes as Houghton picked out a sparkly pink nail polish for her toes.
Houghton, a former paramedic for Plymouth, was diagnosed with lung cancer in August. She explained that she went to get checked out after she experienced some trouble breathing in the hot summer weather. Although Houghton credited the problem to fluctuations in temperature due to air conditioned buildings, her doctor insisted on an X-ray. It was then that fluid was discovered in Houghton’s lungs.
“The doctor said, ‘There are spots everywhere (in your lungs), that’s got to be cancer,’” said Houghton.
Her doctor wanted to send Houghton home on hospice care, but she would have none of it.
“I thought, wait a minute, I’m working,” said Houghton. “I’m not sick enough to die. I don’t know how sick you have to be to die, but I’m not there.”
Instead, Houghton began chemotherapy treatments. That was four months ago, and she is now doing maintenance treatments. She still goes for treatment every three weeks, but receives a lesser dose of drugs. Houghton said that she believes the side effects of her chemotherapy have been minimal. She still has her hair, and it was long enough for highlights to be put in during her makeover.
Owner of C.C.’s Cathy Carpenter joined other employees Marilyn Rans, Kathy Hatfield, and Gina Greenlee in giving Houghton a memorable experience. Houghton received a manicure and pedicure, haircut and highlights, a facial, and a new makeup look. To complete her transformation, she also donned a new outfit purchased for her by the women of the salon.
Carpenter said that she was inspired to become involved with Hello Gorgeous — a non-profit organization dedicated to female cancer victims makeovers — because of her mother, who passed away 30 years ago from cancer. Since she and her other stylists did their Hello Gorgeous training in September, the salon has “made over” five different women. C.C.’s is one of only seven certified Hello Gorgeous salons in the United States. All of the products used on Houghton during her makeover were provided by the non-profit organization, and they were sent home with her to keep. The salon does two fundraisers each year to supplement the program, and their goal is to do 12 makeovers a year.
“We like being able to give back,” said stylist Marilyn Rans simply.
Despite her illness, Houghton has made it a point to carry on with life as usual, as much as she can.
“I’m afraid that if I decide I’m sick, I will be sick,” explained Houghton. “I’d be down like a rock.”
Houghton’s optimism grew even stronger as she excitedly chatted with the women in C.C.’s about her makeover. Later, she joined friends and family for another surprise — a celebratory lunch at The Brass Rail.
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