Dreams for Diamonds
Kenya Rynea is making wigs for cancer patients in AustinBy Giselle Suazo Arriaga
Angels walk among us here in Austin and one of them is Kenya Rynea, the founder of Dreams for Diamonds, an organization that creates bandana wigs for children fighting cancer and going through chemotherapy.
Rynea started giving back to her community while attending beauty school and it quickly became a passion of hers. In 2013 she received a call from Dell Children’s Hospital asking her to make a wig for a 16 year-old patient who had been diagnosed with cancer four years prior. The patient’s suffering was going to end soon and the hospital was giving her and her one year-old daughter a photo shoot, so the patient asked for a new wig for the occasion. The hospital decided Rynea was the one for the job.
“I was able to make her a brand new wig with beautiful highlights and luscious waves. She absolutely loved it! I was so happy to provide something so simple to me that brought someone so much joy and happiness,” said Rynea.
Being able to create such a memorable moment for a person in need inspired Rynea to create Dreams for Diamonds with the help of her girlfriend, Jazmine Johnson, who also serves as the organization’s director. What was once a hobby now became a nonprofit organization and Rynea’s bandana wigs are helping countless kids around Austin. Their first time displaying the bandana wigs to the public was at the St. Baldrick’s event hosted by Dell Children’s Hospital. It was at this event that Rynea and Johnson met a mother looking for a wig for her daughter, after trying a few wigs on she decided on a cute curly bob. The mother turned to Rynea and mentioned that she had never seen her daughter with hair before.
“We didn’t think about that when creating these wigs. We created something for someone who had never experienced hair. Before we knew it everyone was in tears of joy and we knew we were indeed doing the right thing,” said Rynea.
Rynea and Johnson encourage anyone wanting to start a nonprofit to join in on their organization to get an idea of what it is all about. High school groups and other volunteers are welcome to attend wig-making events and donate hair. The volunteers are paired with families who have requested wigs and all the wigs made are donated to children in need. “This gives students the opportunity to give back to the community, learn and teach, and getting them off the streets and into doing good for our community,” said Rynea.
Austinites can also support Dreams for Diamonds by donating bandanas, accessories to design and create wigs, and by liking the organization’s Facebook page to be up to date with wig-making events. Clients who donate their hair at the Kenya Rynea hair salon will receive a free haircut, this will last until December 31, 2015.
For more information visit, www.facebook.com/DreamsforDiamonds.