The Team Spirit!
I was 12 years old when I started losing my hair in patches. To find out later that I had Alopecia Totalis.
For more than three years my hair was totally gone, but having a mother who was a woman of faith, I never felt like this was a permanent condition. With our faith, God provided a solution. A medical doctor gave me a topical and oral treatment and within a few weeks I started seeing results. The first signs of hair were only fuzz, but later formed into little tiny curls. At first, I had no familiarity with this type of hair. It was totally different from before, but I was thankful that I had some form of hair. My hair was very unruly and uncontrollable. I wanted to learn about hair, but it wasn't until years later in 1990 that I finally got my permanent residency in the United States and Immediately enrolled in cosmetology school. I learned more than just how to tame my hair down with a blow dryer and hair products. I was given a long-beautiful-human-hair wig by a classmate (was she trying to tell me something?!) and that was it for me. After that I wanted long hair myself and got interested in extensions. Around that time I acquired the knowledge that I needed to do extensions and style wigs. For the next few years I wore extensions.
In 1994, I got hired by a hair club salon and learned more about hair alternatives. I got trained by the best and learned techniques and technology on hair additions, extensions, hair pieces, and wigs.
Around October of 2000, I started working at Pat Painters' Wig Salon and soon I was very passionate about helping and guiding clients to the right hairstyle and color which best fit their need and lifestyle. Although, the most gratifying feeling came from seeing those big bright smiles from a satisfied client.
Several years ago, I started to master the knowledge of Modacrylic Fiber and started to re design wigs customizing to the clients needs. Later, I found a wig company that was willing to produce my styles. I have many designs of my own and are some of the top sellers from this manufacture..
Cancer, Alopecia, Trichotillomania, and many other diseases and disorders put a pause in our lives, but it's up to us to make the best of situations. Although, in my opinion we can not make it without the help of God, family, friends, principally the medicine and a good wig if you need it ;).
Not everyone makes major life decisions based on medical tests, but I did. I’m what you might call a pre-viver. My mother and other close relatives were diagnosed with breast cancer, and I knew that a BRCA1 confirmation would be monumental for me. It was. As a result, I had a double mastectomy and a total hysterectomy. Also, based on my own experience, I knew how I wanted to give back. I work on my clients with compassion and humor. Nothing gives me greater joy than when someone tells me that I transformed a potentially horrific trauma into a life affirming event. Abba Wig Salon! Gives me the perfect opportunity to do what I love – it doesn’t get any better than this!
Bonnie Friedman is well known in the Austin area for her Shave Parties. She helps her clients that are going through chemo treatments by taking what can be a very difficult and emotional experience and turning it into a fun and memorable event. She does this by helping her clients find the perfect wig and shaving her client's head.
Austin American Statesmen
I heard about Bonnie very soon after I came to Austin, via my patients. She is almost an Austin institution--if you have had chemotherapy here, it is very likely that you know her! Bonnie does an amazing job of providing comfort to patients at the most difficult time, right before they begin treatment. Hair loss is a hard obstacle to overcome. Bonnie takes this toxicity and turns it into an opportunity for laughter and empowerment. She also attends almost every cancer-related event in the city (taking pictures at every one); she views her role as long term. My patients appreciate this special treatment, and I am grateful for it.
Dr. Beth Hellerstedt MD
When I saw your picture and story on the FRONT page of the Statesman last week, it was like all was right in the world. It was so joyous to see Austin recognize the very special person you are and all the contributions you make to so many with your amazing spirit and humor, dear Bonnie. I hope you have been bathing in all the positive love coming back your way. I am honored to know you and have been one of the many you've touched and helped along this journey.
I can think of no one else who exemplifies the "service with a heart" more than you, BonKnee! I've been coming to you for about 3 1/2 years and each time, I walk away feeling better about my self, my health and my future.
The very first time when I walked into your shop, I was so afraid that nothing would help me with my hair loss and I would just have to endure it. All of a sudden, this wonderful, laughing, sensitive woman with blonde hair and purple streaks came forward and said, "Boy! You need some hair! Let me get you some!" You made my sadness turn into joy and confidence. You made me feel like I was not the only one on this planet that needed a bit of help in the hair department. All of a sudden, I was looking at myself and I saw me 20 years ago before the cancer and the aging. Your gentleness, your jokes, your caring. Money cannot buy that - I can always get another hairpiece, but I will never have another Bonnie.
Thank you for making my life so much better.
PS I LOVE the new wig that I got last month!!!!! The color and the style are "me". Once again, you came to the rescue! Love and hugs to you - never doubt the fact that you help hundreds of women like me every day of your life.
The lady that walked up to you at chemo said she recognized you instantly when you walked into the room, and she was so touched by your story in the newspaper that she said she just had to come talk to you and tell you how much you meant to her. She said she wanted to thank you personally for everything you have done and the career you have made supporting women with breast cancer. She said you were such an inspiration to her and she was so glad to get to meet you in person, and wanted to encourage you to keep doing everything that you do to help women fighting cancer.
Just wanted you to have this, since you said you were crying and couldn't remember it all!!