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Gail Bowyer and Sue Sajona
are best friends and volunteer
Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center volunteers and best friends Gail Bowyer and Sue Sajona have a knack for making people smile — working magic on women's hair and makeup as licensed cosmetologists. They take pride in making others feel good, employing their cheerful banter in their trademark British accents (they moved from England to San Diego more than 20 years ago). As Sharp Chula Vista's first volunteer cosmetologists for the hospital's Look Good Feel Better Program at the new Douglas & Nancy Barnhart Cancer Center, they have a way of putting smiles on the faces of patients battling cancer.
"Cancer is awful. It ravages your body and can change your skin color or cause your hair to fall out," Bowyer explained. "We're excited to share our skills with women who may be feeling blue about their looks and remind them that they're beautiful."
Bowyer, who left her cosmetology career to raise four children, was inspired to volunteer after tragedy struck. Her husband of more than 30 years passed away and she slipped into a deep depression. Comparing the experience to a dark cloud lifting from her life, Bowyer felt energized after her friend and fellow Sharp Chula Vista volunteer Chris Reeder encouraged her to consider community service.
"I remember Chris telling me that helping others might help me," Bowyer, a Chula Vista resident, recalled. "As soon as I walked into the volunteer office at Sharp Chula Vista, I knew it was the right fit."
While reviewing volunteer application forms, Lisa Golden, manager of volunteer services at the hospital, perked up when she saw Bowyer listed "cosmetology" as a special talent. While excitedly discussing the possibilities of bringing her skills to Sharp Chula Vista, Bowyer shared that her best friend is also a cosmetologist and signed her up to volunteer, too.
"I didn't ask first, but she was OK with it because we're BFFs," Bowyer laughed.
"It's such a thrill when volunteers come in with a certain skill or passion that we're able to utilize for the benefit of our patients," Golden said. "Part of my job as volunteer services manager is making those meaningful connections. I'm eager to watch these new positions flourish with Gail and Sue leading the way."
For More Information
To learn more about volunteering at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center, visit Volunteer Opportunities. To read other stories about volunteers at Sharp HealthCare, visit Patient Stories.
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