CLEVELAND -- A new wig boutique opened in Cleveland Thursday. It is not in a salon, but inside The Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Center. Clinic patients undergoing treatment that causes hair loss can now select one wig for free.
Eddie Columbia was the first person to get a free wig.
“It's kind of hard when you don't have hair, so you try to mask it. I just thought it was an awesome opportunity and it was so generous to have had this done," Columbia said.
Studio 51 Wig Boutique is partially funded by the Scott Hamilton Cares Initiative and Margaret Rose Giltinan, a breast cancer survivor who underwent treatment at The Cleveland Clinic.
She found getting her wig was an important part in the healing process.
"I think it will give women the idea that they can be in charge of their treatment and the treatment is not in charge of them,” Giltinan said.
Sarah Wells, Health Initiative Director of the American Cancer Society Northern Ohio Region, said cancer patients are dealing with so much that getting a wig shouldn’t be a concern.
“Just having to have to think about where am I going to get a wig and how I am going to pay for it, so to have a service like this right in the hospital that they are getting treated is so critical,” Wells said.
While there are no toupees for male patients, there are free hats and caps, donated by the Cleveland sports teams.
Jeffrey Paul Salon donated fifty wigs and helped with styling.
The hope is that a new look will give cancer patients a new outlook on life.
“It's was like so awesome that somebody donated this and was able to give somebody a new identity and new self-confidence. You know that really helps a lot,” Columbia said.
More information is available on this and free wig programs through the American Cancer Society. The toll-free number is 1-800-227-2345.