Sarah Walters has always wanted to make a difference.
Following the sudden death of her stepfather, who passed away five months after receiving a multiple myeloma diagnosis over a decade ago, the henna artist — who began practicing and ultimately mastering her craft in 2008 — was determined to use her artistic ability to better the lives of others.
“It was a difficult time that further reinforced my desire to find a way to help in whatever way I could,” she tells PEOPLE of losing her stepfather.
The a-ha moment came in 2010, two years after she began honing her skill. When her mother asked her to create a crown for a friend who was fighting cancer, Walters jumped on the opportunity, dreaming up a unique crown illustration and bringing the artwork to life on her client’s bare head.
“I knew I wanted to make [the crowns] accessible to anyone who had lost their hair during chemo,” she says, adding that she doesn’t charge patients for her services.
While her work with patients varies from a few times a month to a couple times a week, Walters says there’s not one moment that stands out to her the most since embarking on this new venture.
“I have been touched by every single client who has come to me for a crown,” she reveals. “It’s always inspiring to spend time with people who have so much courage and strength.”
“Everyone is beautiful, and my crowns simply add to the beauty that’s already there. In the same way that you feel a boost of self-confidence leaving a salon with a fresh hairstyle, a henna crown provides a similar experience. People are excited to have an alternative to wigs or hats, and it can be empowering.”