Wig Clinic Provides New Tresses, Improved Outlook

April 1, 1995

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."

NEW YORK--"I had curly hair. Look at it now," lamenteda young woman who had just taken off a turban. She was attendingan "All You Want to Know About Wigs" seminar at CancerCare, Inc. in Manhattan. Indeed, her curls were gone, and onlywisps remained. She passed around a photograph of herself beforechemotherapy for comments: "Gorgeous. You were gorgeous.""You're still gorgeous."

Elaine Baron, a volunteer at Cancer Care, and Clifford Hord, ahairstylist from the Edith Imre Foundation for Loss of Hair, wereon hand to help and reassure her. "Your hair will come back,"Ms. Baron, an 11-year cancer survivor, said. "I had chemoand 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 browncurly number, and fitted it to the woman's head. She looked wonderful."Are you happy, darling?" Mr. Hord asked. "That'syou. Totally natural," Ms. Baron agreed.

The woman smiled, and said the wig was pretty and made her feelgreat. Most important, she could never have afforded to buy itherself.

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 companiessuch as Paula Young, a large wig retailer, as well as the EdithImre Foundation, established by the Hungarian-born hair designerEdith Imre, to assist indigent people and others who suffer hairloss.

Wigs are given away free at these clinics sponsored by CancerCare, a social service agency that helps cancer patients and theirfamilies cope with illness and plan for the future.

A lady named Reinalda, whose brain tumor operation and chemotherapyhad left her bald with a surgical scar near her ear, worried whetherher new wig would cover it. But with a few strokes of a hairbrushfrom Mr. Hord, the scar was out of sight.

Mr. Hord, who has been styling wigs for Edith Imre for 15 years,told Oncology News International that pleasing cancer patientsis the most enjoyable aspect of his work; his clients includemen and children as well as women.

Ms. Baron, who volunteers at Cancer Care 2 or 3 days a week, saidthat she made a vow after her cancer diagnosis, "that ifGod left me here, I would give of myself and help others. I'mdoing that, and I am completely fulfilled."