The Canadian Cancer Society Renfrew County Community Office wig salon was officially opened on Sept. 19. From left are Community Fundraising Specialist Leigh Costello, Pembroke Mayor Mike LeMay, Community Engagement Specialist Lana Gorr, Jay Gorr of Gorr Flooring and Renovations, Home Depot Manager Luc Potvin and Executive Director of the Upper Ottawa Valley Chamber of Commerce Lorraine MacKenzie. (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

Canadian Cancer Society Renfrew County office opens free wig salon

By Patricia Leboeuf

Posted on Thursday October 10, 2019

The Canadian Cancer Society Renfrew County Community Office has created a free wig salon to help those feeling self-conscious about their appearance after cancer treatment-related hair loss.

The Society has always offered free wigs to cancer patients but until recently did not have a dedicated area for fittings in their current office. This meant people had to try a wig on in the middle of the reception area or in the break room, offering little privacy for this emotionally charged moment.

Due to a material donation from Home Depot and the efforts of Gorr Flooring and Renovations, the Society now has a dedicated room for wig fittings. The room looks much like a modern salon with many of the wigs displayed on foam heads while others are carefully put away alongside some hand-knitted donated beanies.

Much like the hair from the wigs, the salon itself was created through donations. “It is for a great cause,” said Jay Gorr of Gorr Flooring and Renovations.

“For us at Home Depot, we try to help out as much as we can,” said Home Depot Manager Luc Potvin.

The completed salon was officially unveiled on Sept. 19 and is now available for men, women and children of all ages. “It is a calm, relaxed, private space for them to feel comfortable in,” said Leigh Costello, Community Fundraising Specialist.

“Hopefully this will make the process a little less hard, a little more special for them,” she added.

It is difficult enough going through cancer treatment and facing the emotional, physical, social and financial issues that arise from it. That it can be especially devastating when the reflection in the mirror is an unrecognizable stranger. Many who experience hair loss don’t feel comfortable leaving the house. Having the option to wear a wig can be tremendously beneficial.

“Just being able to find something that suits them, something that makes them feel beautiful again or something that allows them to go freely out in public and do things like grocery shop and visit friends and not feel self-conscious about the way they look,” said Costello.

Though some people bring the wig back once their hair has grown in, it is theirs to keep forever or pass on privately.

“I think this is something extremely important, especially for people who are going through chemotherapy and they know they can come and get themselves a wig so they feel more comfortable,” said Pembroke Mayor Mike LeMay.

The office is located in Pembroke, but it serves people from all across Renfrew County. In addition to the wig salon, the Society has multiple programs including peer support and its popular Wheels of Hope Transportation program, which delivers people to their cancer-related appointments ensuring that nobody has to miss a treatment.