By Leslie Yager
It was a very special Mother’s Day for longtime Cos Cob resident Diane Silbereisen.
Diane, 56, and her daughter Jessica, 26, were treated to a makeover by Becker Chicaiza, the name behind Becker Salon on Mason Street.
The mother-daughter duo connected with Becker last month at the Breast Cancer Alliance Walk for Hope, a one-mile walk down Greenwich Avenue to honor lives touched by breast cancer.
“This is the first thing I’ve won. Ever,” exclaimed Silbereisen of her luck at winning Becker’s raffle prize. Her grateful and upbeat disposition belie the difficult patch she so recently endured.
As recently as last Christmas, Silbereisen found not one, but two tumors, just four months after her last mammogram. The news was almost too much to absorb, yet she was left little choice. In a matter of days she would undergo a double Mastectomy followed by heavy ACT Chemotherapy.
Silbereisen, who has worked for Greenwich Hospital for 35 years in the cardiology department, said “I think it’s really important to show the survivorship, for all these women who are being newly diagnosed.”
“I try to get that message across to my patients,” she added, explaining why she participates in as many cancer walks and fundraisers as possible. “All that money raised goes to help those women. A lot of women can’t afford mammograms or that care, so these cancer walks help them.”
For Silbereisen, gently hinting that she hadn’t needed a haircut in some time, a side effect of chemotherapy, the session with Becker was meaningful.
Chicaiza, along with Marsin Mogielski who does marketing and photography for the salon, and personal assistant John Giraldo, opened the shop on Mother’s Day, their day off.
Yet, to see Silbereisen‘s delight when her hair was redone is to understand why Chicaiza frequently gives back to the community that has embraced him.
“It’s special that my daughter can do this too,” Diane said, referring to Jessica, 26, a copywriter for Vineyard Vines. Jessica is the oldest of three who include Lindsay 24,who works for SoundWaters, and Philip, 23, who is set to graduate from St. Lawrence this month. Diane’s husband Peter is a retired Greenwich Police officer from the Marine Division who currently runs security for Brunswick School.
Chicaiza, with help from Mogielski and Giraldo, cut and colored Diane’s hair which had grown in with touches of gray. Then, for Jessica, he utilized the French technique, Balayage.
“You don’t see painted-on lines with Balayage. Roots don’t show because the technique involve painting. The process involves four levels of certification. It takes a long time to learn and a long time to apply,” Chicaiza said, adding that the technique mimics the look of a child’s sun kissed hair and is popular with celebrities.
Recently, Becker has been busy planning a move from Mason Street to the bottom of Greenwich Ave. Soon, the salon will fill a space three times the size of the current Mason Street location and services will expand to include manicures, pedicures, eyelash extensions, and even Botox.
For Chicaiza, who grew up in Ecuador and discovered his knack for cutting hair as a teenager, the dream of having his own salon was long in the making. He said that the community has embraced him at the Mason Street location, but he is excited to move into the space on Greenwich Avenue and expand.
Passionate about staying on the cutting edge of new techniques, Chicaiza derives equal satisfaction from a stunning head of hair, whether transforming a longtime client or the recipient of a raffle prize.
Becker Salon is located at 268 Mason St in Greenwich. (203) 340-9550.
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