Since its doors opened in 2008, Eden Spa at AdventHealth Orlando has worked to become a haven for women affected by cancer. It’s the only spa in Central Florida with services specifically catered to the needs of cancer patients. The spa aims to improve the lives of its clients by providing services such as wig customization and fitting, creating other flattering headwear options and accessories, and mastectomy and post-surgical bras, as well as all the other pampering services you’d find at a spa.
Eden Spa takes pride in using all-natural, organic and vegan products designed to nourish even the most sensitive skin and hair. But for the nourishment of the mind and spirit of the brave women fighting cancer, you’ll have to look to the amazing team of women that work there.
Wendy Rayam – Master Cosmetologist and Custom Wig Specialist
Wendy has been with Eden Spa for the past nine years and believes that she was commissioned by God to do so. She’ll go to patients’ rooms and give them a “Zip and Fit,” which is what they call the head-shaving haircut along with a fitting for a wig. She makes sure to take the extra time to find the right wig for each woman including cutting, styling, and dying the wigs to match the woman’s natural hair, if desired.
Wendy’s favorite thing about working at Eden Spa is being able to love, care for, and help the women there through the grace of God. She believes that prayer and hope are the keys to surviving cancer; Wendy spends a great deal of her days and nights praying for her clients and their families.
When asked about how she copes with the heavy emotional weight of working in a space like Eden Spa she said, “For many years I was bringing the job home with me, I’m a human being with a heart and it’s difficult not to. Then, one day the Holy Spirit spoke to me and told me that I wasn’t God, and that I shouldn’t be trying to carry all that weight with me. And I realized that I had to give it to God to carry. Now I just have to make sure that I’m prayed up and full of The Word to be able to give hope to the women and their families. My faith keeps me strong and coming back day after day and allows me to be strong for the women at the spa. I can’t be defeated, I have to be refreshed for the patients. You have to have The Word in your heart and let them see God in you.”
Wendy’s patients are only her patients the first time she meets them, after that they’re family. “My patients become my mother, my sister, or my daughter,” she explains. Wendy brings comfort and peace to women and their families through praying together and will tell them, “Psalms 24:8, ‘The Lord God is mighty in battle,’ and with his grace and our prayers we’ll see you through this.”
Janet Balla – Custom Lace Wig Creator and Specialist
Janet has been with Eden Spa for three years and considers it her purpose in life these days. She started making wigs when she was 17 while working for Disney 20 years ago. She strives to educate her clients on the finer details of wigs and how to wear them, while at the same time making sure that every woman who needs one, gets one. She also manages the Angel’s Closet at the spa which provides free wigs and bras to cancer patients in need.
“I want every woman fighting cancer to have a sense of security, confidence, and the ability to hold their head up high,” she says. “My client base is really more like a family base to me and I make myself available to them 24 hours a day.”
Janet recently customized an inexpensive wig into a detachable hair piece that can be attached and transferred to different baseball caps for a client that was going on a Disney vacation with her family the next week and wanted the hair piece to be able to be used with her collection of caps, including her Disney caps.
“I love making a difference in these women’s lives by putting their minds at ease and their families, as well. When you’re dealing with something as traumatic as cancer it’s important to have that peace of mind. My clients aren’t a number to me, I love them, and I love coming into work every day to help them.”
Edna Carrasco-Alvarado – Mastectomy Bra Fitter
Edna has been with Eden Spa for two years and finds her job to be the perfect balance of business, customer service, and patient care. She’s a recent mother of an 18-month-old son and says that breast cancer is a very important issue to her as a mother and a daughter. Edna’s job is to make women feel whole again by fitting them for custom clothing like mastectomy bras and prostheses, as well as consulting with them before big events like family weddings or vacations to ensure they feel comfortable and natural in whatever they’ll be wearing.
“I measure and fit women in the appropriate post-surgical, mastectomy and some lymphedema garments,” she explains. “The type of garment and prosthetic depends on the type of surgery and the woman’s individual journey. I personally like to know their lifestyle and show them different options. It’s important to take into consideration so we can choose the best for each one of them. With all choices, during the consultation, the goal is to choose the most comfortable and accurate fit. When I see someone as a new patient, my goal is to find out where she is in her journey, so I can meet her needs.”
When asked about how she copes with the stresses of the job she says, “Some days are good, and some days are better. What I mean about good days and better days is the fact it’s an emotional job. We talk about life, we laugh, we cry, and we pray. You build a relationship with the patient and their families and that’s the best part of my day. The journey is not easy. When a patient gets diagnosed there are more downs than ups and what I strive to do every day is to help each one of my patients feel confident again. It’s more than taking measurements and trying on garments. Patients want to be listened to and cared for.”
“In the very beginning of my career, I had the pleasure to meet a beautiful young lady who was having her appointment with me days before her surgery. She was very scared and anxious about her upcoming double mastectomy. I remember she was just two years younger than me. During the first five minutes of the consultation, she was very quiet, and something was telling me to stop what I was saying and doing and just talk to her from the heart. From there on, she talked, and I just listened.”
“The best part of my job is being able to make someone smile again. The women feel confident knowing they have a garment that fits well, that they have symmetry across their chest, and that they have been professionally fitted for what they need. I enjoy my conversations with them and the relationship we build throughout the years. It’s very rewarding. The women I see during the consultations are stronger than what they think. I see the strength through everything they must do to beat this cancer. They don’t stop being a daughter, a sister, a mother, a co-worker, a friend and all the hats they wear each day. They are super-women and they don’t even know it.”
How You Can Help
There are several ways you can help both the brave women battling cancer as well as the good work that the selfless women of Eden Spa do every day.
- Refer a Friend – Tell your family, friends, and colleagues about how Eden Spa is coping with the intimate challenges that come with women’s cancers. Even people who are not cancer patients can visit the spa for a variety of relaxing treatments.
- Become a patron of the spa and enjoy their luxurious treatments and wonderful, natural products.
- Donate – The Angel’s Closet is always accepting donations and the Breast Cancer Care Fund could benefit from your generous monetary donations.
EDEN SPA ALTAMONTE
601 East Altamonte Drive, Suite 1721
Altamonte Springs, Florida 32701
Located inside the AdventHealth Altamonte Springs Gift Shop
EDEN SPA ORLANDO
2501 North Orange Avenue, Suite 186
Orlando, Florida 32804
Located inside the AdventHealth Cancer Institute Orlando