The gift of kindness and the art of paying it forward


Colin Chen with Lei Li's son and his artwork depicting Lei's fertility journey.


Colin Chen is a hairstylist and part-time artist in Halifax with a dedicated customer base who have become longtime friends. Colin immigrated to Canada with his family in 2012 from Southern China. Since then, he has built a successful salon and is honing in on his painting skills by taking online art classes from a teacher who still lives in his home country.

Being kind to people and giving back to the community are two principle values that Colin lives by every day. Whether through spreading kindness to his clients during their visits, expressing gratitude to his family or celebrating his friends’ accomplishments – Colin lives his life in a way that exudes positivity, and that can be contagious.

During one of Colin’s first Maritime winters, he was driving to Halifax from Saint John with his wife and two friends when they suddenly hit an icy patch which sent their car off the road. No one was hurt, but needless to say – everyone was shaken. In the spirit of east coast hospitality, a stranger pulled over with their truck and helped Colin and his passengers get back on the road safely.

When Colin tried to pay the stranger for their help, they refused and insisted that it was no trouble at all, but Colin was determined to pay it forward to the community. As a way to show gratitude, Colin made a donation to the local hospital where he had his accident. This single act of gratitude and generosity flourished and Colin has been helping to advance care at the QEII through regular donations to the QEII Foundation ever since.

Nowadays, Colin spends his time making his clients feel great with fresh new haircuts, colours and styles. Colin has learned a lot about his clients through their many personal conversations over the years. One client in particular, Lei Li shared her personal story with Colin about the challenges she experienced in starting a family about 14 years ago. Lei shared that during her fertility journey, she had a dream where she saw an auspicious Chinese symbol, called the Qilin, representing a boy in a flash of white light. When she woke from the dream, she had a feeling that she was pregnant. 

Colin was inspired by the warmth and hope depicted in Lei’s story, which also highlighted profound cultural roots that he and Lei bonded over.  Colin took this inspiration and created a beautiful painting to depict Lei’s dream and wrote her story out in classical Chinese.

“The overall objective of my art is to deliver a kind message to other people,” says Colin. “No matter race, religion, or place, I believe that people will feel the message of kindness through my artwork and I want to influence them in a positive way.”

When Colin presented Lei with this lovely gift, she was so impressed, and tried to pay him for his work, but he insisted that this was a gift. Determined to show her appreciation, Lei made a generous donation to the QEII Foundation, knowing that Colin has been a longtime supporter and has made a meaningful impact in the community through his own donations.

Generous community champions like Colin and Lei make a significant impact on health care at the QEII year-round. Not only do these champions create change through their donations, but also by inspiring others to become involved in our shared mission to continue advancing health care at the QEII for all Atlantic Canadians.


         Colin Chen是哈利法克斯(Halifax)的发型师和兼职艺术家。他有一个忠实的客户群,并与客户们成了老朋友。 Colin2012年与家人从中国南方移民到加拿大。 从那以后,他成功地建立了自己的美发沙龙,并坚持参加他的中国老师的在线艺术课程,继续磨练绘画技能。

         为人友善和回馈社区是Colin的人生信条。 无论是向客户传递善意,表达对家人的感激之情,还是庆祝朋友们的成功 —— Colin的生活都洋溢着积极向上并极具感染力的精神。

         Colin经历的第一个大西洋省的冬天,在与妻子和两个朋友从圣约翰开车去哈利法克斯的路上,他们的车突然撞上了路面的积冰。瞬间,汽车偏离了道路。 虽然没有人受伤,但不用说——每个人都被吓坏了。一位具有加东传统热情好客精神的陌生人停下了他的卡车,帮助Colin和他的乘客们安全地回到了路上。

         Colin试图向这位陌生人支付酬金以示感谢时,陌生人坚定地拒绝了, 认为这完全是小事一桩,不足挂齿。但Colin决心要回馈社区。 为了表达感激之情,Colin向事故发生地的医院捐款。 这种传递谢意的慷慨之举从此一发不可收拾。从那时起,Colin就一直定期向QEII基金会捐款,用于帮助QEII医院提高医疗水平。

         如今,Colin用心让他的客户感到宾至如归,拥有时尚的发型、颜色和款式。 这些年来,Colin通过与客户的交谈加深了彼此的了解。一位名叫Lei Li的客户与Colin讲述了她发生在十四年前的一件事。 Lei说,在她计划怀孕的过程中,她曾做过一个梦,梦见了一只在中国文化中象征祥瑞的小白麒麟,随着一道白光,从她身边一闪而过。 因为麒麟在中国文化中代表男孩, 当她从梦中醒来时,她预感到自己怀孕了。


       “我艺术的总体目标是向他人传达友善的信息, Colin说, “无论种族,宗教或地域如何,我相信人们会通过我的作品感受到友善。我想以一种积极的方式影响他们。”

          ColinLei展示这幅精美的画作时,Lei被这幅令人惊艳的作品深深震撼,希望购买这幅画作。但Colin坚持这是一份礼物。 Lei知道Colin一直以来都是QEII基金会的支持者,并且其捐赠已对社区产生了积极的影响。为了表达她的谢意,Lei Li QEII基金会慷慨解囊, 以示支持。