Getting a cancer diagnosis is never easy. Between juggling doctor appointments, treatments, and uncertainty about the future, many patients also have to worry about something more cosmetic, but still difficult – losing their hair.
Ashley Derrenbacher, wanted to help patients struggling with the loss of their hair, so she started EBeauty at Noyes, a program to give out free wigs to patients in need.
“I thought this would be something good for this area,” said Derrenbacher, who was the Office Coordinator for Community Outreach Services when she started the program. She is now a Human Resources Assistant. “Before starting eBeauty at Noyes, patients would have to travel quite a distance to get wigs. With Noyes having a cancer center, I thought it would be a good program to have locally.”
“We get the wigs through a program called EBeauty Community out of Washington D.C. The wigs are all professionally cleaned through Paul Mitchell Schools,” said Derrenbacher. “Then they are packaged and sent out to hospitals across the nation. “
Noyes Memorial Hospital is the only facility in the state to partner with EBeauty Community to offer this service.
The program has been in place at Noyes since July of 2019. To date, 28 cancer patients have received free wigs from Noyes. Any patient who has lost their hair in the area is eligible for a free wig. They do not need to be undergoing treatments at Noyes Memorial Hospital.
“This is a completely free service,” said Derrenbacher. “Patients get the wig, a wig stand, wig caps, dry shampoo and dry conditioner. There are many styles to choose from. We have long wigs, short ones, and many colors.”
According to the EBeauty website, each wig is valued between $700-$5,000. The wigs are provided to the hospital free of charge to distribute.
Derrenbacher makes the process as simple as she can for the patients.
“A lot of times if a patient is already coming for a medical oncology or radiation oncology appointment, the staff that works there lets me know they are interested,” she said. “I can go down during their infusions and treatment and I just talk with them right there instead of setting up a separate time to come back. I can bring wig options in for the patients to look at and try on, then they can leave that day with their new wig.”
If someone were to come back as wigs age or get damaged, they are able to be replaced.
She said the feedback from the program has been overwhelmingly positive.
“People are very shocked they are free and very grateful for this service,” said Derrenbacher. “Some people have a very hard time dealing with hair loss as they undergo treatments. It doesn’t bother everyone, but the majority of people struggle while watching their hair fall out. I think it is a relief to hear that this free service is available to them.”
If you are in need of a wig, you can call Ashley Derrenbacher at 585-335-6755 or email Ashley_Derrenbacher@urmc.rochester.edu.