Durham cosmetologist uses cancer journey to write children's book: 'Mama, Where's Your Hair?'

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Friday, March 1, 2024
Durham cosmetologist uses cancer journey to write children's book
Durham cosmetologist uses cancer journey to write children's book

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Hair has always been a huge part of Lashanda DeBerry's life.

She became a licensed cosmetologist at 19 and became passionate about teaching others how to take care of their hair. Her journey came to a crossroad in 2011 after a year of inexplicable pain. DeBerry was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma, and she immediately thought of her kids.

"They were young at the time," she said. "I just wanted to raise them, and I wanted to be there for them so it was very scary."

For the next few years, DeBerry continued to work while receiving cancer treatment.

Switching to natural hair practices, she created her own vegan hair product line called Pur Bella Naturals, which is sold in 50 Wegmans' locations on the East Coast.

The goal of the brand is to make your natural hair feel great without the harmful chemicals.

"If a product that has harmful chemicals touches your scalp, you may not get cancer, but you can suffer autoimmune diseases," DeBerry said. "You can get headaches, you can (develop) skin issues."

She knew one of her biggest fears would likely come true over the course of her treatment. That was losing her hair.

"I felt embarrassed about it," DeBerry said. "Because I spent over half of my life helping peoples' hair grow, teaching them how to style it and the correct things to do. And then, I was going to lose my hair."

It was this experience that led to her latest venture of writing a book to help kids watching their own parents' battles with cancer.

"The day I lost my hair, I saw how it affected my daughter," DeBerry said. "How she just ran and couldn't accept it."

She recently released 'Mama, Where's Your Hair?' in hopes of making the journey a little easier for other women and their families.

DeBerry said she wanted to write something that can explain the reasoning behind hair loss.

She wants to help the person who's going through it and help children realize the definition of true beauty.

"I'm happy that I did it. And I just really want to get it into the hands of everybody that is going through this," she said.