ACS Wig Boutique now available at Elmhurst Memorial’s Center for Cancer Care
An American Cancer Society (ACS) Wig Boutique is now open in the Elmhurst Memorial Center for Cancer Care, located on the campus of Elmhurst Memorial Healthcare, 155 E. Brush Hill Rd.
The Elmhurst location is one of 80 ACS Wig Boutiques in Illinois and provides free wigs to cancer patients, regardless of where they receive their cancer treatment.
"Cancer patients sometimes feel as devastated by their hair loss as they are by their diagnosis or the treatment itself," says Debbie Fager, Account Representative at the Oakbrook Terrace office of the ACS.
The free program was created to lessen the impact of this frequent side effect of cancer treatment.
"Our goal is to make sure that every cancer patient in our area who can't afford a wig can get one,” says Fager. “People also come to the boutique because they want to look for a wig where they trust they'll get the support they need."
Aurora resident Jill Greenwood, 39, was the first patient to use the new boutique at Elmhurst Memorial.
"It's hard enough to lose your hair, but if you had to go hunt for some place to get the right wig, and wonder how much it will cost, it would be even more difficult," says Greenwood.
In addition, wigs are typically not covered by Medicare or many insurance plans.
ACS Wig Boutiques feature a wide variety of wigs in many styles and colors. Trained volunteers guide the patient in choosing their wig and seeing that it fits properly. Many of the Wig Boutique volunteers are cancer survivors themselves.
Patients also are given information on other support services available at the Center for Cancer Care, such as support groups, yoga and other stress management programs. The Center also is a site for the ACS Look Good, Feel Better workshop, in which cosmetologists teach women beauty techniques to combat the appearance-related side effects of cancer treatment.
Greenwood was apprehensive about finding the right wig. She said her 9-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son were afraid she'd end up looking like someone else. To help, Greenwood selected a wig before beginning chemotherapy, something that’s recommended.
"We encourage patients to come in to the boutique before they lose their hair so we can better match the style and color," says Mona Kasper, clinical nurse specialist in Oncology at the Elmhurst Memorial Center for Cancer Care.
"The volunteer was very helpful in showing me wigs in my shade of brown, and my mom, husband and best friend were on hand to help me decide," says Greenwood, whose hair is normally brown and very curly – she went with a short and straight style. "Everyone tells me it just looks like I had my hair straightened. What I wanted was something that was cute and easy and that's just what I got."
"Having a Wig Boutique at Elmhurst has been a dream of ours for years,” says Kasper. “With the opening of the Center for Cancer Care we finally have the space. This is another part of our focus on providing one-stop shopping for our cancer patients. It's very gratifying when someone puts on a wig and says, ‘It's me. I've found me again.’"
If you are a cancer patient in need of a wig, or want to volunteer at the Wig Boutique in Elmhurst or another location, call the American Cancer Society at (800) 227-2345.
For more information about Elmhurst Memorial’s Center for Cancer Care, visit www.emhc.org/amazing-cancer-care or call (331) 221-5900.