Ascension St. Mary’s Towne Centre is helping cancer patients boost their self-esteem during cancer treatments thanks to a new wig room created and funded by the hospital oncology team. The group hosted various fundraisers to create the wig room, which is filled with items to help a patient feel good about themselves while in treatment.
Chemotherapy-induced hair loss has been shown to lower patient self-esteem and deprive patients of their privacy because the public commonly associates hair loss with cancer.
“Patients can benefit from the wigs, hats and scarves to help them feel beautiful on the inside and outside,” said Angelina Porras, practice supervisor at Ascension Medical Group Medical Oncology & Hematology. Developing the wig room has been a goal of Porras since she began working with cancer patients in 2016. “Besides the cancer diagnosis, losing your hair is one of the scariest things for the ladies and men. I want them to be able to feel beautiful. I want them to come into the wig room and pick out a wig and not worry about the cost. I want them to leave the building and feel special,” said Porras.
To help support the wig room and its positive effect on cancer patients, the Great Lakes Bay Region Women in Leadership will host events Wednesday Oct. 19 through Saturday Oct. 23 from 4:00 p.m. to midnight each day at the Drydock, 113 Center Avenue in Bay City. Their goal is to raise $6,300 to help supply the Wig Room at Ascension St. Mary’s with additional wigs, hats, scarves and other comforting supplies for cancer patients.
“Losing hair is a devastating experience for our patients, and our wig room makes it less challenging. It helps boost their self-esteem,” said Ascension St. Mary’s oncologist, Asma Taj, MD. “Our staff is instrumental in helping our male and female patients find a wig or hat that fits their personality. You can see their confidence soar immediately.”
According to Ascension St. Mary’s oncologist Roma Srivastava, MD, “The financial burden of cancer care can sometimes be so overwhelming that any support we can give to our patients (and their families), to assist them in the transition of their life becomes an empowerment in their fight against cancer. We care very much about improving their quality of life, and the wig room is a very small part of helping them.”
Dennis Durek was the first patient to utilize the room. “Thanks to the staff for the supplies. It was fun, especially being the first one to use the room. It is really cool for people who need wigs and such. It is a wonderful way to help people. Every little bit helps improve our spirits,” said Durek.
“I can get through chemo, but the hardest thing was losing my hair, and the wig room helped,” said patient Amy Delgado. “I was able to try on multiple styles and choose the best one for me.”
To learn more about the Wig Room and its work in building the self-esteem of cancer patients, or to contribute towards their ongoing needs, contact Ascension St. Mary’s Foundation at 989-907-8300.