BY JACLYN ROSE –
Teena Brown, the daughter of Bob and Clarice Tisher, was born and raised in Mena with her two older siblings: Bill Decker and Beth Carver. After graduating from Mena High School in 1979 she moved to Fayetteville, Arkansas, where she attended one year of college at the University of Arkansas before beginning Cosmetology School. After completing her classes she moved back home and started to work for Connie Gibbs at Connie’s Style Shop on Mena Street.
Brown married her husband, Andy, in 1984 and together they have four children: Scott, Angela, Cole, and Lacee and now six grandsons. “I love being a mom. I think my favorite thing is the love that you share. There truly is no other love like it,” said Brown.
Soon after marrying her husband, Brown started her own salon, Hair and All That Jazz which she owned for many years before selling and going to work for The Splash of Color. “During that time mother started getting sick and daddy had Alzheimer’s and my siblings and I would take turns taking mother to her treatments in Fort Smith. During one of our trips she was told she was going to lose her hair and I asked where we went for that. We were sent to Donald Reynolds Cancer Support House. It was like a big hair salon and for an hour and a half they let mother play with wigs, scarves and hats. She was so happy. When we got in the car the look on her face was like a queen. She was glowing, instead of worrying. We talked in the car that day how Mena could benefit from a place like that and I made a promise to her that I would see what I could do,” Brown explained.
Brown talked with Michelle Ross at The Look Salon and Spa and was given a room downstairs where she could meet with cancer patients privately in 2009 and Clarice’s Room of Hope was formed. Through this 501-c-3 non profit, Brown, and her volunteer “angels” assist cancer patients completely through donations. They provide wigs, scarves and breast prosthetics, as well as outreach services for families during their time of need, as funding is available.
Clarice’s Room of Hope also hosts a once a month gathering in the Daisy Room of Janssen Avenue Florist. This is a non gender specific group for everyone involved: patients, survivors, caregivers, spouses, and children. “We are a Christian group. We pray and have prayer lists and we love all the people who come in there. Our hope is to encourage and inspire people to keep going and not give up,” Brown explained.
There is no administrative pay for the people who work for Clarice’s Room of Hope and every measure is taken to keep funds local. Since beginning the non-profit, they have given away 135 wigs.
Every week, in Polk County, three new patients are diagnosed with cancer; the local need is large and, sadly, is growing every day. Because of the high need for the services Brown offers, they have needed more space. “Dr. Mesko called me earlier this year, and offered me one of the buildings in his complex to enlarge Clarice’s Room of Hope. We will be moving to our new location at 403 Morrow Street, Suite C, soon. Renovations begin today! Hair and All That Jazz will be back in Mena, taking up part of the suite, with Clarice’s Room of Hope on the other side,” Brown explained. Additionally, Brown is particularly excited that Nidec is graciously donating proceeds from a dinner held in conjunction with the Lum & Abner Festival to Clarice’s Room of Hope.
“Clarice’s Room of Hope is such a blessing to me. I have been able to meet some of the most wonderful people I never knew were around here,” Brown said through tears. “My inspiration came from making a promise to someone I admire and love. I had to watch mother suffer and a lot of people do not understand the passion that we have but they haven’t been there, and I hope they never have to experience it. Love your parents with all your heart because we are not promised tomorrow.”