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If you have to wear a cancer ribbon, it might as well be the one you dyed in your hair.

That’s the spirit behind a fund-raiser to support Melissa Nance, executive director of Friends of Literacy, who was diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL), a blood cancer that starts from white blood cells. CLL accounts for about one-third of all leukemia cases.

Nance was diagnosed with CLL in early September. In the eight years she’s been the head of Friends of Literacy and her earlier stints with the Little River Watershed Association, Maryville College, and the Knoxville Opera, Nance is no stranger to raising money. However this time, Nance, the mother of a college freshman, finds herself on the other side of the table when friends stepped up to help raise money to defray medical expenses.

Throughout October, Tennessee School of Beauty, 4704 Western Avenue, will donate a portion of proceeds from any purple manicure or pedicure or from anyone who dyes a purple ribbon in their hair. On Tuesday, November 10, the school will host a “mass colorthon” for Nance, her supporters, and anyone who would like to join in. The event will begin at 4 p.m.

“We are honored to play a small role in Melissa’s fight against cancer,” says Adam Brown, owner of Tennessee School of Beauty. “We’ve all been touched by cancer in some way. This is one important way we can fight back.”

Malinda Wood, a friend of Nance’s and one of the organizers of fund-raising efforts on her behalf, says: “Many people are going to get their hair and nails done anyway. This is a way to get them done and help someone at the same time.”

Purple is a signature color for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Team Melissa will participate in the Society’s Light the Night Walk on Thursday, October 22. The walk begins at 5 p.m. in Circle Park on the University of Tennessee Campus.

Bula Boutique is creating a limited run of 50 Team Melissa T-shirts in purple and orange, the proceeds of which will also help pay for Nance’s medical expenses. Bula Boutique, owned by Brandon Rader and Julia Ford, is located at 115 Gay Street in downtown Knoxville and features a fusion of East Coast/West Coast fashions. Just perfect for purple hair.

For more information about Team Melissa and the various fund-raising opportunities, visit the Team Melissa Facebook page at

To learn more about Tennessee School of Beauty, visit