Team need unwanted wigs to help cancer patients

A hospital team is appealing for wigs to help cancer patients overcome the trauma of losing their hair.

The Living With and Beyond Cancer team at Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust set up the wig service last year to help patients undergoing treatment at the Queen’s Centre at Castle Hill Hospital in Cottingham.

With wigs costing anywhere from £100 to £1,000, patients can pick up a wig for as little as £10.

Now, because they have helped so many patients, the team is appealing to the public to donate new, used or unwanted wigs as their stocks are running low.

Claire Walker, a Macmillan Associate Practitioner who works with the team, said: “Losing your hair can be such a big thing because it’s tied in with your full body image and your identity.

“You go from having hair to having nothing at all, not even your eyebrows or eyelashes, so it does have a really big impact.

“Wigs can be really expensive so we thought this service would help people and make it far more affordable. But we need the public’s help because we’re now running out of wigs.”

As well as helping patients with cancer, the service can also accept referrals from people with alopecia and other conditions which cause hair loss.

People come to the team before they begin their treatment or after their first chemotherapy session.

They can make a £10 donation to buy a wig or pay £20 for a special package including shampoo, conditioner, a wig stand, a hairbrush and a special cap to be worn under the wig.

All profits are ploughed back into replenishing supplies and patient care.

A wig fitter comes into the centre on Mondays and Tuesdays to help patients to ensure they are happy with their purchase.

Claire said: “We try to match it as near as possible to their own natural hair although we do get some people who want to try something completely new. They say this is their one time to have something completely different so we try to accommodate that too.

“It can be a really frightening time for people so we try to make it as relaxing as possible for them.

“We just need the public’s help to keep on providing a service which means such a lot to so many people.”

Anyone who can is asked to call Claire Walker on 01482 461091, ask for a member of the Living With and Beyond Cancer team at the reception desk or speak to Tanya in the Macmillan Information Centre, both at the Queen’s Centre.