‘More than beauty:’ Cancer support nonprofit offers makeovers to cancer patients | TheUnion.com

‘More than beauty:’ Cancer support nonprofit offers makeovers to cancer patients


What: Butterflies & Roses Cancer Support nonprofit

Where: 425 South Auburn Street, Suite 1, Grass Valley, California

When: Schedule an appointment at 530-368-2920 or email Barcs2019@yahoo.com

Cancer can be devastating, especially for those nearest to it.

Meleesa Pellerino, owner of Image by Design Hair & Makeup Studio, is no stranger to the disease. She has had four close relatives die of cancer within the past two decades. Since 2012, she has been volunteering with the cancer support group, Look Good Feel Better, at Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital.

She also used her studio to help cancer patients find the right wigs, and ensure they fit the individual’s face shape, eye color and general aesthetic.

At the end of 2018, Pellerino decided to formalize her work, opening the nonprofit, Butterflies & Roses Cancer Support, out of her studio. The executive director said she plans to take fliers of her organization to the hospital, providing information to nurses and patient advocates.

Now as a certified nonprofit, Butterflies & Roses will offer complimentary beauty services to female cancer patients with the goal of providing personal care and emotional support. Her services include head-shaving, haircutting, hair coloring, makeup lessons, wig fitting and more.

“Every one of these women, to me, are like my mom and my sister,” said Pellerino, in reference to her loved ones who died of cancer.


The nonprofit has a board and various administrators, but is still searching for volunteers. Pellerino hopes to recruit more people to support more cancer patients in the community.

“You don’t realize until you don’t have hair, the emotional impact that not having it can have on you,” said Joy Haggart, who was supported by Pellerino years ago at Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital.

Haggart had cancer when she first met Pellerino, and said her services were incredibly uplifting for her, especially when she would look in the mirror, and feel alone, like a stranger to herself.

When Haggart came out of chemotherapy treatment, she went to Pellerino to style her hair.

“(Pellerino) just had all this good advice on how to trim it so it looked like a hairstyle,” she said.

Butterflies & Roses hopes to expand their support to rehab centers and home visits. The executive director is also conjuring new ways to emotionally support patients.

“There’s more than beauty support we’re wanting to do,” said Pellerino.

The nonprofit will be running a booth at the Nevada County Fairgrounds on July 4.

Contact Sam Corey at 530-477-4219 or at scorey@theunion.com.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User