In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month CHD’s Cancer House of Hope partnered with the Springfield-based Lambda Beta Sigma Alumnae Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. for a Wig Drive to support Cancer House of Hope’s in-house wig boutique throughout October 2020.
The Wig Drive helped provide the Cancer House of Hope with 37 new wigs, valued altogether at $1,500, with a specific focus on providing an inclusive selection of wigs in every texture and hue for Cancer House of Hope’s inventory.
During the pandemic, Cancer House of Hope’s wig boutique has remained operational. Though regular in-person programming is not taking place at the House to protect the safety of staff, volunteers, and participants, those in need of customized hair replacement solutions are still able to reach out to the House by phone, learn more about wig options and wig care, and pick up wigs through a drive-up system.
“Sigma Gamma Rho is thrilled to be partnering with the Cancer House of Hope for our first ever Wig Drive. The act of service is ingrained in the fabric of our mission on a national and local level,” shared Nicole Taylor, who as a member also serves as the marketing manager for the Chapter. “We are very excited to introduce Western Massachusetts to Sigma Gamma Rho’s Women’s Wellness Initiative through our Hattie McDaniel Breast Cancer Awareness and Health Program.”
“The Cancer House of Hope is so grateful to work with Sigma Gamma Rho on this initiative,” added Program Director Margaret Toomey. “Though COVID-19 has presented all of us with unique challenges and hardships, the same is especially true for those undergoing cancer treatment or those receiving a new cancer diagnoses. This Wig Drive will truly help us provide a broad selection of wigs for all who reach out for support.”
During the Wig Drive, Sigma Gamma Rho collected donations in the form of brand new comb-less, full cap wigs as well as electronic contributions that went directly toward the purchase of new wigs. New wigs were then purchased locally from Young’s Beauty Supply and Mike’s Beauty Supply, both of which are located in Springfield. New head scarves and wig caps were also accepted; though, like new wigs, they needed to have tags and be in protective packaging. In addition, Sigma Gamma Rho is offered a number of sponsorship packages inspired by renowned women vocalists of color, including Beyoncé Knowles, Selena Quintanilla-Perez, Mary J. Blige, and more.
Sigma Gamma Rho’s Cancer Awareness and Health Program’s namesake was inspired by late academy award winning actress Hattie McDaniel, who was a member of Sigma Gamma Rho. McDaniel passed due to breast cancer in 1952 at the age of 59. Since then, the program both honors McDaniel’s memory while also serving as an educational resource for awareness around early detection, research and prevention.
“As an organization that seeks to enhance the quality of life for women and their communities, the partnership was a no brainer. We want to ensure that our community is well informed of the amazing cancer support services the CHH has to offer,” Taylor said. “This year we are delighted to shift our focus to hair. Through our Wig Drive we will be assisting the CHH with addressing the need for more inclusive wig options for Women of Color. We’re often taught at a young age that our hair is our crown and glory. Our goal is to provide the Cancer House of Hope with wigs that celebrate every women in every texture and hue!”
Located at 1999 Westfield Street in West Springfield, the Cancer House of Hope offers services designed to bring comfort, care, resilience and hope to those affected by cancer and their loved ones at no cost. During the pandemic, Cancer House of Hope has pivoted many of their services to a virtual format, including virtual yoga, art therapy, one-to-one counseling, support groups, lecture series and more. To learn more about offerings call 413-733-1858 or visit chd.org/cancerhouseofhope.