A nonprofit established through a longstanding Newbury Street salon has been quietly offering an invaluable service by providing qualifying women who are losing their hair due to the side effects of cancer-related treatments with top-quality, customized, and ready-made wigs and hair pieces at no cost to them.
Pat Wrixon, owner of The Salon at 10 Newbury, said the salon she founded in 1995 has since the beginning seen women who have experienced hair loss for a variety of different reasons. She and her staff soon came to realize that not every woman who needs a wig has the financial means to buy one themselves, including some patients undergoing cancer treatments.
With this in mind, Wrixon launched the nonprofit, Wigs for Well-being, through the salon around 10 years ago.
At first, Wigs for Well-being worked almost exclusively with Boston Children’s Hospital, which provided them with referrals for children and teens suffering from cancer, said Wrixon, before it expanded to working with other hospitals to reach more cancer patents.
Since the nonprofit’s inception, Wrixon estimates it has provided several hundred patients with wigs, and in most cases, she said, “they want to look like themselves to create some sense of normalcy.”
Kinga, one of Wigs for Well-being’s clients, said, “While undergoing treatment for cancer, my doctor suggested that I check out The Salon at 10 Newbury. I am so glad I did because the staff was helpful in finding a wig that was perfect for me. The wig I got resembled my natural hair the most, so when I go out, I feel like my precancerous self. What’s also amazing is that even though this salon is out of network with my insurance, the owner, Patricia, accommodated me with a wig that helped me out financially”
To qualify for Wigs for Well-being, patients must provide a prescription for a wig or scalp/hair prosthesis from their doctor; a letter of financial need from their social worker at the hospital where they’re being treated; and/or verification that their health insurance company offers very little-to-no coverage for a wig or hair/scalp prosthesis.
Qualifying patients can then make an appointment for a consultation, currently available on Tuesdays between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., when they’ll come into the salon and meet with staff select a wig. The wigs can be colored and styled to each patient’s specific desires, with the caps altered to fit, said Wrixon.
The nonprofit currently has 25 to 30 wigs on hand, which were all donated, she said, as well as the ones the salon has in stock for sale to customers. Some wigs are donated by people who’ve undergone cancer treatment and no longer need them, which are all refurbished. If a patient can’t find a wig that suits them, the salon will order and pay for a new one for them instead.
“We feel like it’s our mission to help women and want participants in our wig program to have the same experience as someone who has the means to attain a wig themselves,” said Wrixon.
To learn more about Wigs for Well-being, including how to qualify for the nonprofit’s services, visit www.wigsforwellbeing.org, or call The Salon at 10 Newbury at 617-247-4900.