Lopping off locks for a good cause

The  Vernon branch of the Canadian Cancer Society accepts donations of hair from local residents to be made into wigs for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.  - Lisa VanderVelde/Morning Star
The Vernon branch of the Canadian Cancer Society accepts donations of hair from local residents to be made into wigs for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.
— image credit: Lisa VanderVelde/Morning Star

Many people with cancer find receiving a wig to wear while their hair grows back after treatment is an important part of their recovery.

The wigs are made possible by the donations of hair by children and adults who grow their hair, sometimes for several years, in order to make a donation.

It can take as many as 12 donations of hair, 40 hours of work and cost about $1,200 to make one hand-sewn wig.

The Vernon branch of the Canadian Cancer Society accepts donations of hair which are sent to Vancouver to be made into wigs. Most of the wigs go to B.C. Children’s Hospital, with the rest available through society offices around the province.

The Vernon branch has about 60 wigs, as well as caps and scarves available. People can make an appointment to have a private fitting for a wig and can keep the wigs as long as they need to at no charge. There is currently a volunteer position for a temporary wig coordinator with training provided.

The wigs are only one of the services provided by the society.

“Approximately one in four people will be diagnosed with cancer, which translates to approximately 23,300 British Columbians. By supporting the Canadian Cancer Society community outreach and funding campaigns, donors and volunteers make it possible for people who are diagnosed to access many services,” said Susan Moore, coordinator, volunteer engagement, Canadian Cancer Society, BC and Yukon Division.

These services include the CCS Financial Support Program to cover the cost of travel and accommodation for cancer treatments and medications not covered by MSP and stays at cancer lodges in Kelowna, Vancouver, Victoria and Prince George (opening January 2013).

Fundraising campaigns also support Camp Goodtimes, a camp for children who have had cancer and their siblings; research into cancer causes and the development of improved diagnostics and treatments; and facilitate continued community outreach to educate and promote healthy lifestyles and advocate for legislative changes to minimize exposure to carcinogenic agents.

The Cancer Information Service provides information on all cancers and cancer-related services and resources at 1-888-939-3333. Trained specialists provide information and referrals in English and French with interpretation available in more than 100 languages.

The emotional support program, CancerConnection, is a free, confidential service (available by phone or in person) that connects people with cancer with a trained volunteer cancer survivor who has had a similar cancer experience. The volunteers listen, share practical stories, offer understanding and encouragement.

“The Canadian Cancer Society is a volunteer-driven organization with more than 15,000 volunteers located throughout the province. Without volunteer support, we wouldn’t be able to provide the support services and programs we do,” said Moore.

The 2013 Daffodil Campaign take place in April, Daffodil Month, and leadership and canvassing volunteers are needed. For more information about volunteering for the Daffodil Campaign, at the Vernon office in The People Place or as temporary wig coordinator, call the office at 250-542-0770.


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