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Salon ‘sisters’ band together

Angie Roselund receives support from “Angie’s Army,” her co-workers and friends at j. Sisters Salon

Posted: August 4, 2009 10:10 p.m.
Updated: August 5, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Angie Roselund, center, is surrounded by members of "Angie's Army," co-workers and friends from j. Sisters Hair Salon in Newhall on Tuesday. They all sport pink bandanas in support of Roselund and her battle with breast cancer.

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In her first return to work since round three of chemotherapy, breast cancer victim Angie Roselund was reminded Tuesday of the support she's received from her 21 sisters.

No, they are not her biological sisters. She doesn't have any.

They are "Angie's Army," Roselund's 21 fellow stylists at j. Sisters salon in Newhall who've stood behind her in a rough battle with breast cancer.

"The girls here have just been amazing," Roselund said. "I couldn't ask to work in a better place than this.

"I consider them my family and my sisters, since I don't have any sisters," she added.

As Roselund stepped into work Tuesday morning, she was surprised when welcomed by her pink-bandana-wearing sisters.

"I just wanted the girls and I to show (Angie) the support, so we're rockin' the pink scarves," said Julie Allen, owner of j. Sisters. "I call them the ‘Righteous Rockstars.'"

At age 36, Roselund, of Castaic, was diagnosed with breast cancer April 21.

She has been a stylist at j. Sisters for nine years.

Only five days prior to Roselund's diagnosis, she was named "Mrs. Hairspray" - the highest honor - at the salon's first-ever in-house Academy Awards.

Accustomed to 45-hour work weeks, Roselund had to cut her salon schedule to fewer than 10 hours a week.

"Chemo brings about migraines for her and they're just debilitating," Allen said. "She went from being best overall to not being able to work overall."

Roselund faces a fourth round of chemo on Thursday and a double mastectomy in coming months, which will put her out of work for a month. Roselund and all the stylists at j. Sisters are self-employed contractors.

Upon word of Roselund's diagnosis, her "sisters" sprang into action almost immediately.

"The minute we knew she had it, everybody jumped on the bandwagon and was willing to ease the financial burden," Allen said.

Through the sale of "pink" water bottles for $5, customers and stylists raised $400.

With another $550 raised through a money tree, the women took Roselund on a Costco shopping spree this week.

"The Costco run helped a lot because I don't have the energy to go out and get the little things," Roselund said.

"Angie's Army" car magnets, one of Allen's concepts, have generated an additional $500.

But the support doesn't stop with finances.

When Roselund shaved off her long, brunette hair for chemo, stylist Robin Garrett shaved her head, too.

"We definitely are a sisterhood - that's why I picked that name for this place," Allen said. "But I had no idea that name would be so fitting when one of our sisters came down with a debilitating disease."

Roselund has her band of sisters behind her, but according to j. Sisters receptionist Dana Schmidt, Roselund is the true hero.
"Really, the spirit inside of her is what's keeping her going best," said Schmidt, a 12-year friend of Roselund's. "She's an amazing, amazing woman."

Roselund believes her struggle has brought breast cancer awareness to her fellow stylists. "I think all the girls here have learned to appreciate life a little bit more," she said. "The doctor says one in five women get (breast cancer), so if any other sister in here gets it, we'll be able to help her out in the same way."

While Roselund is thankful for her "sisters," there's one man she couldn't leave out.

"I couldn't have done it without my husband, Todd, either," she said. "He's my biggest supporter."

Roselund and her husband will celebrate their one-year wedding anniversary on Saturday.

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