Fairfield native Casey Chernes Paules was just 28 when she discovered a lump in her left breast, but delayed seeing a doctor because she didn’t have health insurance – and because she feared the worst. After qualifying for insurance and mustering up the courage to get checked by her healthcare provider, on June 2, 2011 – Casey’s 29th birthday – she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Casey, who was an employee of Intrigue Hair Salon in the Brick Walk and a graduate of the Fairfield Public Schools, fought a valiant battle with cancer until March 3, 2012 – just three months shy of her 30th birthday – when she passed away at Yale-New Haven Hospital with her family by her side. Just the day before Casey died, she married her longtime love and partner, Adam Paules, from her hospital bedside.
By the time Casey was diagnosed in June 2011, the illness had progressed to stage two and she underwent surgery before starting chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Jill Brenner, Casey’s best friend and co-worker at Intrigue, said Casey was known for her contagious smile, love of life, free spirit, caring ways, enormous heart and infectious laugh.
“During her illness, Casey remained positive and barely ever complained. With the support of all of our amazing friends she kept a brave face and instead of feeling bad for herself, she did whatever she had to do to keep on going and live her life,” Brenner said. “If she were here today I think she would tell people that she learned first hand that age does not excuse you from breast cancer and to stay aware. Even if you don’t have health insurance or means of going to yearly exams, there are places out there that offer a lot of support and it should be a priority among women of all ages.”
In honor of Casey – who was a student at the Brio Academy and was pursuing a career as a hair stylist – and to help raise funds for breast cancer awareness, Intrigue Hair Salon is offering highlighting and blowout specials for the month of October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Intrigue will donate a portion of the proceeds to the Norma Pfriem Breast Care Center in Fairfield.
Through Oct. 31, Intrigue Hair Salon will donate $5 from the proceeds of every highlighting service to breast cancer research. In addition, on Tuesday, Oct. 23 and Thursday, Oct. 25, Intrigue will offer blowouts for $30, half of which will go directly to Norma Pfriem. On those evenings, Intrigue will offer clients wine and cheese from 4 to 8 p.m.
“We want to honor Casey’s memory by raising funds each October to go toward a cause that was close to her heart and remains close to all of ours,” said Carolyn Goldstein Pease, co-owner of Intrigue Hair Salon. “For those who knew Casey, they know she always had a smile. She had such a warm, funny and easygoing way about her. No matter what, and even on her last day of life, she was smiling.”
The cause is clearly near to Goldstein Pease’s heart. She recently donated eight inches of her hair toward Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths program, which helps women fighting cancer receive free, real-hair wigs.
“Because of my work, I see many women who are undergoing breast cancer treatment. Norma Pfriem, which is just blocks away from our salon, is helping women like Casey obtain the treatment and care they need and deserve, with dignity and compassion,” she added.
The Norma Pfriem Breast Care Center, located at 111 Beach Road, is a medical service for patients in and around the local community and also has locations in Bridgeport and Trumbull.
Katherine Sullivan, a 10-year member of the Norma Pfriem Breast Care Center’s President’s Council and a breast cancer survivor of nearly 15 years, said that many clients of Intrigue are breast cancer patients and survivors being treated by the Norma Pfriem Center.
“We are thrilled and grateful to have Intrigue partner with us in honor of their former receptionist Casey. Although at the time of diagnose my age was considered very young (I was 35), more and more even younger women like Casey are being diagnosed at an alarming rate,” Sullivan said. “Our Center uses much of the funds we raise to educate our surrounding communities about breast cancer, early detection, and the many resources our Center provides to women and men, regardless of their ability to pay.”
Looking back on Casey’s legacy, Sullivan firmly believes Casey would have wanted to help raise awareness about breast cancer – and the staff at Intrigue is helping carry that ideal forward.
“Casey was a bright light and a source of happiness to all she met; even clients like myself to this very day miss seeing her lovely smile behind the front desk at Intrigue,” Sullivan said. “Though she was not a patient of our Center, I know she would have wanted to do everything in her power to prevent her friends, neighbors and colleagues from going through what she did. Casey truly left us too soon, but she is definitely not, nor will she be, forgotten.”
For more information on Intrigue, call (203) 254-1015 or visit www.intriguehair.com. For more information on the Norma Pfriem Breast Care Center, call the Fairfield location at (203) 255-5300.