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Kansas City henna artist brings joy to women battling cancer, alopecia with free henna crowns

Henna artist in Kansas City helps women battling cancer and alopecia feel empowered
Posted at 5:32 AM, Mar 05, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Kan — A henna artist in Kansas City is making an impact on the lives of women battling cancer or alopecia by offering free henna crowns.

Bertha Thomas battled alopecia since a very young age. Alopecia is a disease that causes hair loss, which often occurs on the scalp. When Thomas began to see an increase in hair loss, she made the difficult decision of cutting it all off.

“It took me a minute to accept it," Thomas said. "It finally got so thin that I had to get rid of all of it because (there) was no way of styling it or hiding it."

Thomas, a mother, wife and nurse has always put others before herself. Being a nurse for over three decades has taught her many valuable lessons.

"I'm a community person. I got into community nursing and love it," Thomas said. "I love listening to people and I think that's what draws people to me.”

Despite her best efforts to hide it, the disease was still a heavy weight on her.

“I wore wigs for awhile, but you kind of get tired of that and plus that's not the real you," Thomas said. "Wearing a wig is just a cover up and I wanted to be me, I wanted to be naturally Bertha.”

So, Bertha turned to a different approach, henna crowns. She then found Nida Syed-Sardou a henna artist in Kansas City, who was offering free henna crowns for women battling cancer and alopecia.

“I always was thinking about how to spread the beautiful message that henna has and how to spread its beauty around the city," Syed-Sardou said.

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Henna is a traditional Indian method used in celebration of special occasions. The cooling affect of Henna is also used to help relax the body and nerves. Syed-Sardou said above it all, the henna crowns are a way to make women feel empowered.

“Women get this to feel more confident about themselves," Syed-Sardou said. "This is what the henna crown does, it helps them gain a new identity."

Since finding Syed-Sardou, Thomas has become more like family.

"She is not a guest, she is not a customer, she's not a client, she's family," Syed-Sardou said. "You [Bertha] bless me with your presence and that is more than important for me, that is more than any money could give me."

You can check out Henna Hands for more information.