This post is part of #GivingTuesday's #WomenWhoGive series, which celebrates women who are making a difference in their communities.
Karen Vito, Board Member, Hair We Share.
What inspired you to start giving?
My then 18 year old daughter Sarina was diagnosed with AML Leukemia in March of 2017. Hair We Share founder Suzanne Chimera reached out to me through social media and asked if we'd like them to custom create a wig for Sarina using her own hair and the hair of her family members so that when she lost it from chemotherapy she would have it back in some way or form. The wig Suzanne delivered to Sarina was not only gorgeous and truly was made in the style she had before the hair, but more than anything, gave my daughter the confidence and dignity while recovering from her treatments to feel "normal'. It was tremendous help to us all and I knew I had to get involved to help more children suffering from medical hair loss. Today, 19 years old and recovering nicely, Sarina still wears the wig that Suzanne made for her. Soon after, Dean Riskin, co-founder of Hair We Share met for lunch and I happily agreed to come on as a board member of this incredible not-for-profit.
What does giving mean to you? Why do you continue to give your time, talents, money, or more to your community?
I know first hand what it's like to be in crisis and so many people helped me during that difficult time so if I can bring happiness, a sense or peace and contribute in a way that can ease someone's heartache or burden, I'm all in!
What would you tell others who are looking to start giving back? Share a piece of advice will help them get started.
I have always volunteered in my adult life, choosing charities that were close to my heart. I as still continue to help numerous not-for-profit organizations to this day, my heart lies with Hair We Share.
I believe everyone has it in their heart to help others. Figure out what is important to you in your life. Imagine what it would be like for you if that didn't exist and help people who are not as fortunate. It's imperative that it is something you are passionate about so that you can contribute in the very best way.
Please share a favorite moment or story from when you volunteered or donated to an organization.
My favorite moment volunteering for Hair We Share was at their annual event at Oheka Castle last September when 6 lovely women went up on stage and cut their ponytails off in front of a crowd of 200+ people so that their hair could be used to make wigs that can then be distributed to sick children. There was not a dry eye in the house as they played a video of one of their teen recipients talking about what it meant to her to have the wig Hair We Share gave her. It was very special.