Not-for-profit helps Capital Region patients with cancer rest and relax | WNYT.com

Not-for-profit helps Capital Region patients with cancer rest and relax

Jacquie Slater
Updated: January 08, 2020 07:34 PM
Created: January 08, 2020 07:16 PM

"You're a little dry, so we'll try to get some good moisture in there. Are you on any medications or are you all done?" said Sara Beach Cohen, as she gave 21-year-old Alyssa Parrino a facial.

For Parrino, the treatment is more than just a facial. It's a chance to relax and be pampered after a two-year battle with leukemia.

"This is a special essential oil for cancer patients that a company sent me. It's called immune air and it's supposed to kill germs and flu viruses and bacteria," said Cohen.

Parrino was first diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia when she was 19.

"It was the week of Thanksgiving 2017 and they did some blood work and immediately they knew it was cancer," said Parrino.

What followed was multiple rounds of chemo and then in May of 2018 she had a bone marrow transplant.

"It's very isolating. You're very removed from social life and family and friends and I was in Albany Med for six months, so it was very challenging," said Parrino.

Thanks to a not-for-profit called Nicole's Hope, Parrino and other teens facing similar challenges now have a chance to escape it all - even if just for an hour.

"Their look, their hair, their, makeup, their clothing. Everything is different. If they had a boyfriend he's probably not there anymore. Their entire lives change and I wanted to find a way to make them feel better about themselves," said Lisa Lee.

Lee's daughter Nicole died from leukemia when she was just 16 years old. Lisa founded Nicole's Hope and is teaming up with Elevate Aesthetics to give cancer patients custom facials and reiki treatments.

Beach Cohen is the owner of Elevate, which focuses on organic and natural products.

"I want her to forget everything that she's been through - which is a lot, and I just want her to feel pretty. I want her to feel pampered. I want her to feel just like anybody else," said Beach Cohen.

One day at a time, Parrino is getting there. She's now in remission and is thankful for her extended support system and fresh faced glow.

"I'm stronger now and it definitely puts a different perspective on life and just appreciate every single second of every single day," said Parrino.

MORE INFORMATION: Nicole's Hope: Facebook Page


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