Spotlight Stories

Khadijah and Inayah • CHLA Pop-Up Salon Clients


On a rare rainy day in LA, our wonderful Beauty Bus volunteers were working hard to brighten the gloom for the patients and caregivers staying on the oncology floor at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Set up in a conference room, bright shades of nail polish, glittering lip gloss sparkles, and the sound of soft giggles soon replaced the grey of clouds and the pitter-patter of raindrops on the high hospital windows.

While a small group of young girls debated the perfect shade of pink for their nails, moms relaxed into a soothing facial - the tension falling away from their shoulders, and two dads chatted quietly as they received a much-need trim. Here in the relaxed quiet of the temporary salon, it was easy to see the happy families joyful for a moment to just be, without the stress of the uncertainties that lie ahead.

One mother, Khadijah, shared, “My daughter was admitted to the Children's Hospital due to complications from her brain tumor. I met some members of the Beauty Bus team while they were at the hospital and was given a bag filled with personal care items.” Allowing the pampering to continue even after their beauty services, each family that visits the pop-up salon is given a Bag of Beauty filled with hand-picked product to take with them and enjoy.

“The items were very useful and appreciated,” Khadijah continued. “The store in the hospital is not open on weekends and some parents don’t have anyone to bring them necessary items. Not everyone understands the struggles that caregivers are faced with. We appreciate what you do and look forward to supporting this organization.”

Khadijah’s kind words remind us of the reason Beauty Bus was founded and what motivates all we do each day. Loving kindness, support, and compassion will always be at the heart of the Foundation and we are grateful to be able to share that with our clients, volunteers, donors, and the entire amazing community that has grown around us!

Margaret Atwood • Beauty Buddy of the Year

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Margaret Atwood's Beauty Bus story began when her husband was ill and their daughter, Ashley, was his caregiver. Margaret had learned about Beauty Bus and thought her daughter could benefit from a Home Visit. Little did Margaret know that she would carry on her husband's legacy through her own volunteer work with Beauty Bus.

As a licensed cosmetologist, Margaret’s husband Gilbert, was impressed with the work that Beauty Bus performs. He made it his goal to become a Beauty Bus volunteer after he recovered from cancer. Sadly, that was a goal he was unable to fulfill.

Margaret volunteers at both Pop-Up Salons and at Home Visits. “It’s a way to honor him,” says Margaret of the volunteer work she and Ashley do together. “I’ve gone on home visits and sometimes it’s tough. But I feel good that I can go! The gratitude and feeling the clients have when we leave… it’s just great.”



New Program • Beauty Series

“Bringing Beauty Home” is what Beauty Bus is all about. It’s what we’ve been doing for almost ten years! But what happens when a person is battling an illness away from their home? It’s a challenge that we’ve recently met with great success. Launched just last year, patients and their caregivers have enjoyed beauty and grooming services on a weekly basis at Providence Saint John’s Health Center, Providence Holy Cross Medical Center and Disney Family Cancer Center. They are able to choose from haircuts, hair styling, manicures and facials — all at no cost!

Beauty Bus CEO and Founder, Wendy Marantz Levine, explained that patients’ needs are top of mind, “We just want to be there for them and allow them to get outside of their disease, even if it’s just for a small part of their day.”

What do patients think of the program? Marilyn Gold, a patient at Providence Saint John’s Health Center summed it up, “They take care of you, but the emotional part, the beautification, that’s what means a lot. And that’s overlooked in a hospital.”

Marilyn Gold, above. (Photo Credit: Angel Carreras, Santa Monica Daily Press)

Marilyn Gold, above. (Photo Credit: Angel Carreras, Santa Monica Daily Press)


Day of Beauty for Veteran Women • Pop-Up Salon video


“My favorite part about today, I think, was just the feeling of being able to be relaxed and to be able to talk about things that a lot of women veterans go through, but don’t necessarily speak about in public.”

Share in the joy of these women veterans as they relax with some beauty and papering at this pop-up salon in conjunction with Blushington and Brentwood School!


Maribel • home visit client


"Human contact! I was looking forward to contact with other people!"

On a late summer morning, Maribel greeted Beauty Bus Lead Beauty Professional, Elena Vazquez, and Beauty Bus Volunteer, Sybrena Miles with great excitement. As a longtime Beauty Bus client, Maribel knew just what to expect. She  looked forward to getting her neglected nails freshened up and she knew there were goodies to examine in her Bag of Beauty. But the big treat? Maribel was most excited to chat with her visitors.

"I've been stuck in the house the last three or four months. The heat makes my condition worse, so it's very difficult to get out," she explained. After setting up and settling in, the conversation among the women ranged from the heat, to summer haircuts, family dynamics, old boyfriends, funky genetics, and ants.

Maribel conveyed the challenge facing many people who live with serious illness: isolation. Beauty Bus is proud to support people who are going through a difficult time. There is magic in bringing the outside world in to people who are isolated. We often hear that it makes people feel "more human" and "more normal." And we think that's more beautiful!


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Janet Wilson • volunteer

"The main thing is making people feel better. It makes my day."

Janet Wilson regularly volunteers her time to give manicures to Beauty Bus clients. "You really enjoy the one-on-one time It's so appreciate and so needed. And it makes you feel good!" Janet was one of the first Beauty Bus volunteers and has served clients both at Pop-Up Salons as well as during in-home visits. "I'm so blessed to be able to give back and still have the empathy and the strength to do it."

The time she spends with the in-home clients she sees on a regular basis goes beyond simply providing beauty services. "You develop a relationship," she says, explaining that clients can come to feel like family. "I love bringing smiles to people's faces and giving a little bit of beauty to make someone's day. It's all about making clients feel great about how they look. And that makes you feel great!"

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Lindsey • Beauty Series Client

"Caregivers need care, too."

We are excited to welcome Providence Saint John's Health Center and Disney Family Cancer Center to the Beauty Bus Foundation family! Patients and their caregivers — like Lindsey and her mom — are now able to enjoy Beauty Bus services on a weekly basis at two local hospitals. Every week, the Beauty Bus team visits patients and their caregivers at each location to provide complimentary beauty services.

As Lindsey, a Disney Family Cancer Center patient shared, “We met Elena and Virginia. Two lovely ladies who gave mom the TLC she deserved... Mom has been giving herself regular manicures for FOREVER. I've never seen her get her nails done professionally. Elena did an amazing job, and mom couldn't stop looking at her nails driving me home. They generously gave her the bottle of nail color she picked, a top coat, and a nail file. I love that she can use this color again, and remember this treat.

"Caregivers need care too," Lindsey went on to say. "I’m all warm and fuzzy that I could connect mom with an hour of pure pampering thanks to the Beauty Bus Foundation.”

It was great to meet you Lindsey! Let the warm and fuzzy feelings continue!


Beauty drive 2018 spotlight video


"If everyone got out of their safe space, and came and did something like this more often, we'd be in a great space."

This video, debuted at Beauty Drive 2018, gives a look at the lives that are touched at a Beauty Bus Pop-Up Salon that was held at Ronald McDonald House Los Angeles. Then, we tag along as Beauty Bus volunteers bring beauty home to a client and caregiver.

A Day in the life of a pop-up salon

"You can't go through every moment of your life looking like a cancer patient."

Take a look at what goes into a Pop-Up Salon at City of Hope. As the volunteers come together to create an oasis for patients and their caregivers who fight cancer every day, there's a ray of hope where you might not expect it.