Young earns Clark County honor for cancer awareness efforts among minorities

Patty Gentry Young named one of three Clark County Luminaries

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Cancer can be a scary word, Patty Gentry Young said. Early detection is key, but so too is support.

The longtime Springfield stylist was named one of three Luminaries by the Board of Clark County Commissioners for her efforts to increase cancer awareness and assist those who have been diagnosed, particularly in the minority community.

“We’re saving lives,” said Young, owner of Young Hair, Inc., at 1928 E. High St.

Young is the founder of Sisters United for Prevention, an organization that started in 2004 to educate and motivate minorities regarding cancer prevention and treatment.

The organization attracts hundreds of attendees to its annual Cancer Awareness Event and Style Show, held in May. The luncheon and show, which took a break due to the pandemic and is scheduled to return next year, features models who are cancer survivors.

“You get to see people who fought and won the battle,” she said.

The group also has a fund to help those going through treatment who need help covering rent, utilities or other expenses, and it is in the process of donating $20,000 to the Springfield Cancer Center for the purchase of infusion chairs designed for patients who are receiving chemotherapy.

In addition, Young was recognized for her part in helping to register minorities at her salon to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Upwards of 500 people were registered with the help of Young and her sister, who is a receptionist at the business.

The effort, which Young said helped to build trust within the minority community, also received national attention, including a mention in an April 2021 speech by President Joe Biden.

The Luminaries program recognizes residents who are making a difference under the radar and who “bring joy to people’s lives,” said Melanie Flax Wilt, the Clark County commissioner who kickstarted the award in 2018. Kim and Scott Griffith, the former owners of multiple locations of Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken restaurants, also were named Luminaries.

Young helps women with cancer feel beautiful and supports those diagnosed with the disease in many ways, Flax Wilt said.

“She’s always got a radiant smile on her face and is working to make other people feel great,” she said.

Young, 73, called the plaudits an honor and said that while recognition isn’t her goal, she is glad that others are paying attention. A Springfield native, Young said that her mother showed her the importance of supporting her community.

“She taught me this is what you do,” Young said. “If you live there, you help.”

About the Author