NEW YORK--"I had curly hair. Look at it now," lamented a young woman who had just taken off a turban. She was attending an "All You Want to Know About Wigs" seminar at Cancer Care, Inc. in Manhattan. Indeed, her curls were gone, and only wisps remained. She passed around a photograph of herself before chemotherapy for comments: "Gorgeous. You were gorgeous." "You're still gorgeous."
Elaine Baron, a volunteer at Cancer Care, and Clifford Hord, a hairstylist from the Edith Imre Foundation for Loss of Hair, were on hand to help and reassure her. "Your hair will come back," Ms. Baron, an 11-year cancer survivor, said. "I had chemo and I didn't have hair, and, honey, it comes back. Don't worry."
Mr. Hord dug into the supply of wigs, pulled out a long brown curly number, and fitted it to the woman's head. She looked wonderful. "Are you happy, darling?" Mr. Hord asked. "That's you. Totally natural," Ms. Baron agreed.
The woman smiled, and said the wig was pretty and made her feel great. Most important, she could never have afforded to buy it herself.
Wigs Generally Not Covered
Wigs are generally not covered by insurance. They're costly, about $200 for synthetic wigs, which today are the most commonly used. Cancer Care, Inc. has received donations of wigs from companies such as Paula Young, a large wig retailer, as well as the Edith Imre Foundation, established by the Hungarian-born hair designer Edith Imre, to assist indigent people and others who suffer hair loss.
Wigs are given away free at these clinics sponsored by Cancer Care, a social service agency that helps cancer patients and their families cope with illness and plan for the future.