New Look New Life
Gloria Taylor of Buffalo Grove remembers how her long, light brown hair looked before her diagnosis with breast cancer.
After chemotherapy, she says, it grew back in fine grey tufts.
Those "little fuzzies" weren't exactly the look Gloria wanted. Linda DiFronzo of Hair For You Salon in Arlington Heights understood perfectly, and gave Gloria a new style at no charge.
Hair For You is one of many salons in northern Illinois that support the American Cancer Society's First Cut program. Participating stylists provide complimentary haircuts for cancer survivors whose hair has started to grow back after treatment.
"Everyone is touched by cancer in some way," says Debbie Kuehne, owner of Armand's Salon in Arlington Heights, another First Cut location. "We are proud to be part of this program ... it's a way we can help a lot of people."
Janice Johnson of Rolling Meadows visited Debbie after recovering from nasopharyngeal cancer. "It made me feel special and pampered," she says. "I hadn't had a haircut in 14 months. It was like a shot in the arm to get back on track and feel good about myself."
Chemo changes everything
Dealing with the changes in appearance that come with cancer treatment can be difficult. As cancer survivors themselves, stylists Linda and Debbie can truly empathize with their First Cut clients.
"Nails, hair and skin all can be affected by chemotherapy," says Linda, whose staff at Hair For You have developed special salon offerings for cancer survivors. "We want to give clients the care and understanding they need while they're rebuilding their lives."
Wigs, cuts, classes - all free from the Society
First Cut is one of several free services the Society offers for those who want to restore their looks after cancer treatment. Look Good...Feel Better® classes held across the state help survivors learn new ways with makeup, skin care and more. Free wigs are also available through local Society offices. Once you've chosen a style, volunteers will cut and style your wig to suit you - again, at no charge.
The First Cut program is now offered through 13 salons near the Society's Northwest Suburban Regional Office in Arlington Heights, and will expand as this pilot initiative grows. For more information, call 1.847.368.1166.
These helpful resources are all part of our Patient Navigation Services program - a suite of services offered through the visionary support of volunteers and donors statewide. For help anytime, day or night, call 1.800.ACS.2345 or visit www.cancer.org.
Photo courtesy of the Daily Herald, Illinois