Artist Gives Cancer Patients Free Henna Crowns

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For many cancer patients, losing their hair is one of the worst parts of the disease. But artist Sarah Walters has found a rather unique way to bring cancer patients some level of comfort during a difficult time.

Walters runs her own henna shop, aptly named Sarahenna, in the suburbs of Seattle. In addition to offering a wide variety of henna related services and products, Walters offers her artistic talents free of charge to cancer patients looking to fill the top of their head with a henna crown.

The idea came about a few years ago when her mother asked Walters to put a henna crown on a friend who was battling cancer. After she made a crown for her mom’s friend, Walters realized that she could do the same for any other cancer patient.

“Many have never had henna before but see the beautiful artwork and it’s something different than wearing a hat or a wig,” Walters says of the cancer patients she helps. “Others come by referral because they hear what a relaxing personal experience it is.”

Walters is spurred on by memories of her stepfather’s passing in 2004 due to cancer. “I remember my feeling of helplessness,” she says of his death. “It reinforced my desire to help people, and now with more of a focus on those who are fighting cancer.”

She is open to working with any cancer patient of any age, but Walters says most people who take advantage of her services are woman who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.

Walters describes the experience of giving cancer patients a henna crown as “very personal.” In addition to each crown being uniquely designed based on the individual, Walters explains, “I’m touching their head and we’re also talking so it’s healing and beneficial.”

Depending on the materials she uses, Walters can charge up to $100 per hour for her services, but she has no problem waiving her fee for cancer patients, even if it typically takes 90 minutes to apply a henna crown.

The henna usually fades after a few weeks, but Walters hopes her artwork can have a lasting impact on each person. “I hope that my henna crowns give cancer fighters a reprieve from a stressful time in their lives,” she says. “I hope they feel beautiful and loved.”