Longtime Philly stylist provides free haircuts to Ronald McDonald House residents

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Monday, December 26, 2022
Philly stylist provides free haircuts to Ronald McDonald House
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Richard Cornish provides a breath of fresh 'hair' for patients who are used to hospital visits and doctor's appointments.

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- "I love what I do," said Richard Cornish. "I've been at the same salon since I was 18 years old."

That salon, Panache Hair Design in Center City, is where Cornish, now 52, makes a living styling hair. But his volunteer work takes him to Ronald McDonald Houses in Philadelphia.

"I started doing hair on a volunteer basis at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia," he said. "And now, I have my own nonprofit, Restore Salon Services, and we provide salon services to children and their family members who are displaced due to their illness."

Restore Salon Services is run through donations, which keep the haircuts free to residents. The sign-up sheet fills fast, however.

Stefanie Hower, a patient from Danville, PA, had been eagerly awaiting the day she could have her hair done by Cornish.

Hower's family lives about three hours away. She misses her husband and two sons. But she is located at the Ronald McDonald House in order to add a fifth member to their family.

"I am here because I had to get fetal surgery," she said. "My baby, that we're naming Liam, they discovered he has spina bifida. But he is looking really good so far."

That's because of the care she receives at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Through all the doctor's visits and hospital stays, moms like Hower could use a respite every once in a while. That's where Restore Salon Services comes in.

"I think this is a really great service," said Hower. "Getting to do something for myself, it's kind of made me feel pampered and taken care of and I feel like I'm able to breathe a little."

Richard Cornish hopes to expand his service to help more families like Hower's in the future. He says it'll take more donations and also more stylists to come on board before he can branch out beyond Ronald McDonald Houses.

"You know when you get a haircut, you feel better, right? And so you fight harder," he said. "And if I can give somebody the gift of fighting harder, I'm going to absolutely do that."

To learn more about Restore Salon Services, visit their website.

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