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Profile: Fiona Payet and Her Hospital-Based Salon

Fiona Payet’s salon is quite notable for its location – rather than taking up residence on the street or a shopping centre, three years ago Fiona set up shop in the Royal Children’s Hospital (Melbourne), servicing the staff, patients and public. Her tenure there has seen her help over 700 children so far, and her philanthropy and unwavering kindness is a source of true inspiration in the hairdressing industry. 

In Fiona’s hospital-based role, she operates a salon on the ground floor, as well as cutting hair in the wards, and helping those who are dealing with chemotherapy, recovering from strokes or waiting for major surgery. She has become a stalwart of the hospital and a beloved figure within the wards. Her kindness extends beyond her actual hair services – Fiona has provided company and comfort to her young patients, treated them to pampering sessions and presented them with gifts, like a ride in a stretch hummer, after trying stints in the hospital. Fiona is a constant source of treats and chocolates for staff members, adult conversation for parents and warmth and kindness to the kids themselves.

“It’s a huge eye-opener to work in this environment,” Fiona said of her experience at the hospital. “The kids here are inspiring – they’re so strong. They teach you not to sweat the small things. The parents and carers are also amazing people, it can be so lonely for them staying here. I sit them down and I say I’m going to do your hair and I’m not taking no for an answer. My aim is to keep my doors open as long as I can. I love my job and there is not one day that I wouldn’t want to help someone.”

Fiona’s work doesn’t go unnoticed, the kids send her cards and photos even after they leave the hospital, and commenters on the Royal Children’s Hospital’s Facebook page even sing her praises, showcasing her incredible impact. Parents of former patients describe her as pivotal to their child’s stay in the hospital, lauding her support and encouragement.

“Fiona is a godsend at the hospital. The salon was a hideaway from all the stress, somewhere to have a break and be pampered,” shared a commenter named Kerry. “Fiona shaved Rhys’ head during chemo, gave him his first post chemo haircut, pampered my daughter, cut my husband’s hair for a job interview when Rhys was in ICU and came to my boy’s funeral. This women is selfless, kind and has a huge impact on families.”

Fiona’s incredible heart and drive is a testament to how much can be achieved with some empathy and hairdressing skill and, understandably, her GoFundMe page has been shared over 1300 times and raised over $20,000. Congratulations to Fiona for using her hairdressing talents to help others and for her continuous dedication to making a real difference in the world.

You can support Fiona’s cause at gofundme.com/hairdresserwithheart

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