By Kathy Walsh


DENVER (CBS4) – A Denver hairdresser offers her services to breast cancer patients at Denver Health for free. That’s because she, too, battled breast cancer.

She knows breast cancer treatment can take a woman’s hair. She supports patients so it doesn’t also take their hope.

(credit: CBS)

“I’m glad you’re feeling good,” said Rosalba Castillo to Rosalba Avila Soto.

They are two strangers with the same given name; two women brought together at Denver Health by breast cancer. One is a long-time fighter who keeps losing her hair to chemotherapy. The other is a survivor.

“I know I was left here for a reason,” said Castillo.

(credit: CBS)

She’s a hairdresser who volunteers her talents to make the struggle a little easier for others.

“I was diagnosed with stage 3 (breast) cancer,” Castillo told the Avila Soto as she shaved her head.

Castillo was 30 years old, a mother and four months pregnant.

“My mind just was thinking about my baby,” she said.

She had chemotherapy, surgery, radiation and amazing support.

(credit: CBS)

“My mom was the greatest supporter,” Castillo explained as she wiped away tears.

Her baby, Emma, was born healthy. She’s now in kindergarten.

Avila Soto is 63 years old. Her cancer is stage 4, terminal. In three years, she’s had more than 70 chemotherapy and 25 radiation treatments .

She appreciates the free help shaving her head and cutting and shaping her wig.

“More than anything, she makes us feel happy,” explained Avila Soto through an interpreter.

Rosalba Avila Soto (credit: CBS)

Castillo’s goal is to make patients feel hopeful.

“That there’s a hope that maybe they didn’t know they had,” she said.

Castillo is thrilled when ladies leave her with a smile and a hug.

“I know I changed her life today,” she said with a smile of her own.

Castillo offers her services through the Community Cancer Resource Center at Denver Health.

Information from Denver Health:

The Center provides many services to address the challenges patients and families face about their medical treatment or life issues that surrounds the diagnosis of cancer. We believe in the importance of healing the whole person: mind, body and spirit.

Available Resources:
• Computer lab – access to online information
• Health Educator*/Volunteer* – on site to assist with finding quality resources for patients and families.
• Educational Material – access to community resources, advocacy, support services, community organizations, a library of books, videos, DVD’s, magazines and booklets.
• Wigs, Breast Prosthetics & Lymphedema Garments – we have a wide selection of wigs, information about wig care and wig supplies for our patients. We also have a wide selection of breast prosthetics or lymphedema garments.
• Free Classes & Support Group – we provide complementary therapy classes such as art therapy, dance, healing touch and Reiki therapy, yoga, aromatherapy class, knitting , PATHWAYS support group and many more classes offered throughout the year for patients and families.

Kathy Walsh

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