Briezy Bessell Kennedy is organizing this fundraiser on behalf of Johnny Higgins.
As stylists at G PATTON SALON in Norfolk, VA, Amanda Klahr and Briezy Bessell are calling on the hairdresser community, family and friends to please read and share this story. It’s about two very special men who have always helped others, and now they need our help. Mike Leite and Johnny Higgins are not just part of the local hairdresser family, they have also been the other “dads” for these two women, influencing, mentoring and supporting their lives and careers! Johnny babysat for Briezy as a child and Mike, more recently, was the officiate for both women’s weddings. They are dearly loved and respected. Affecting an even broader community, Mike and Johnny have spent many years selflessly giving back to the Tidewater community; utilizing their influence in the hairdressing community to make a difference in many people’s lives.* Mike was diagnosed with leukemia ten years ago, and has not been able to work. After selling ABOUT FACE, Johnny took over as sole provider for their family, working endless hours behind the chair. About five years ago, Mike was in stage four cancer and hospice care, when he elected to participate in an experimental drug research program. Mike has experienced many ups and downs over the last few years, his immune system and kidneys severely damaged. But he is one of eight still living of the original thirty-three who started the experimental program. Mike moved from stage four to stage three cancer, was taken off hospice care and continues to fight for his life. Despite being in renal failure at Christmas time this past year, he pressed on and received the final step of his four-part experimental drug therapy this month. He is very weak and spends every waking moment negotiating the many difficulties of our healthcare system. And now he is advocating for Johnny’s care too. Johnny has been a full time hairstylist for over thirty years, and Mike’s legal caregiver throughout his illness. Johnny has been the steady household provider, but this is where luck, or good fortune, runs spare. Johnny had a stroke this past month. He is now home and unable to work. Use of his hands is very minimal. Currently, he plans to do physical therapy, but he has been told that he will never work in his profession again. This GO FUND ME is to assist Mike and Johnny at a time when they are unable to keep up with household bills and medical expenses. As of January 1st, their insurance will not cover all the doctors with whom they have made this journey. Mike’s prescriptions, on which he depends, will no longer be covered. If anyone can find a way to pull it all back together and move forward, they will. But right now, they need our help and any amount can make a difference. Please consider helping two people who have given to others, so generously, and so often. *As former owners of ABOUT FACE hair salon, Mike and Johnny paid it forward at any opportunity. Charitable events, school fundraisers, community programs, or simply someone falling on hard times, their salon would contribute what they could and never turn anyone away! Over the years, they partnered with 96X and EVMS, organizing and hosting many “cut-a-thons” to aide in caring for the homeless in our area, funding AIDS research by raising $35,000 , supporting MS research, contributing $8000 in donations to union mission, receiving an award winning review for fund raising by Board of Governors of EVMS. They also spent many years working with the Virginia Opera and the Virginia Symphony, raising money and supporting the arts. They advertised and supported diversity and affordable hair care. Mike and Johnny had a management style of inclusion with their staff, often seeing value in helping a new stylist start and build a career.