Last month, Queensland-born 20-year-old and medical miracle, Alyssa Nolan started her first paid job as an apprentice hairdresser at Price Attack Indooroopilly.

Born co-joined at the head with sister Bethany, Alyssa survived a marathon operation to be separated. Bethany lost her battle five minutes after being separated from her sister and at only 23 days old, Alyssa’s life hung in the balance as she had shared 10cm of skull, some brain tissue and cranial draining veins with her twin.

With only one kidney and suffering two cardiac arrests during the surgery, Alyssa was left with a 30cm open cavity in her skull where Bethany used to lie. Since then, Alyssa has continued to thrive, determined to live her best life but struggled to find a job so she reached out to Queensland news outlet, The Courier Mail.

“I am a caring and giving person… I was given the most amazing chance at life and now I just want to live it like any other young woman. I have a mild intellectual disability, but it doesn’t stop me working hard. I just might take a little bit longer to learn new things,” she told The Courier Mail.

Alyssa told the paper she would love a job in retail; she was chatty, friendly and loved to meet and talk to people. 

“I want the chance to show people that I would be a reliable and good worker. Despite my many obstacles in life, I just want to be like any other 20-year-old girl. I have applied for retail jobs but have been rejected maybe because of my health issues. I am epileptic but that’s well controlled and I will show up every day.”

After reading the story, Price Attack CEO, John Pascoe, together with business development manager for corporate stores, Corinne Baker, reached out to Alyssa.

“When we saw the story in the paper, we straight away thought about the best way to help. Hairdressing is a skill you can take with you, wherever you choose to live,” Baker said.  

“We often hear stories of people choosing not to work, so when you hear that someone genuinely wants a job then they should be given a chance to shine. We were horrified to hear she had worked for free for a retailer, who did not offer her a job.

“All of our salons aim to be inclusive whether you are an employee or a customer. For example, a new Price Attack salon opening in Sydney soon is introducing quiet times for adults or children with autism to have their hair cut in an environment where they feel safe and calm. Similarly, they will introduce other private spaces where women can remove their hijabs for a treatment.”

Feature image: Surviving co-joined twin, Alyssa Nolan with Price Attack business development manager for corporate stores, Corinne Baker.