For many women, hair loss is the most troublesome side effect of chemotherapy. A nice wig can ease that concern, but well-made wigs are expensive and may not be covered by insurance. Meanwhile, women who’ve finished their cancer treatments are often unsure as to what to do with their barely-used wigs. The Wig Exchange San Francisco Bay Area, based in Piedmont and now Oakland, was started in the fall of 2014 by Martina Scanlan and Narda Skov to address these exact concerns.
TWE began in the spare bedroom of a home in Piedmont, Calif., with about 100 wigs. Donations quickly came in and the non-profit recently moved to new offices on Martin Luther King Blvd, in Oakland. TWE takes clients at the new office by appointment only. Wigs, either new or gently used, are sent and professionally cleaned and styled by Aveda Salon in San Francisco.
Wig donations have been received from cancer survivors from more than 30 states. TWE serves clients throughout the Bay Area and sends wigs to women in other states and even other countries!
We’re here to help women with the challenges that cancer-related hair loss can cause. If you would like to learn more about The Wig Exchange San Francisco Bay Area or have a wig you would like to donate, please visit thewigexchange.org and click on “San Francisco.”
A recent 23-year-old cancer survivor had this to say about The Wig Exchange and the support they offered:
“I was bald for six months, so a wig would make everything so much easier and it made me feel like myself. Appearance is an important part for yourself, you know, to feel happy about how you look and to feel confident and that’s what The Wig Exchange helped me to do — to feel confident and to do it in an affordable way. It’s amazing how Narda and Martina are willing to help people go through chemotherapy and help them to make on part of it easier and better by donating wigs you know for as long as we need them um so that’s a very amazing thing. Narda and Martina are both so kind and so nice and sweet and you were willing to help me try out a bunch of different wigs and see which one fits and which one doesn’t and give opinions and you know it was really helpful. It was a great experience!”
The first annual fundraiser called “Tie the Town Pink” will be launching this fall and orders are being taken now for ribbons. The cost is $25 and TWE is hoping to have the community support and raise awareness for breast cancer and all of the support that women may need during this time. If you are interested in purchasing a ribbon, please visit The Wig Exchange website and go to the “support us.” The ribbons will be hand delivered in October 2021 to hang on your door or your mailbox.
The Wig Exchange (TWE) San Francisco Bay Area is a partner of Soul Ryeders in Westchester County, NY, and has served hundreds of women all over the SF Bay Area. To contact the organization, go to www.sanfrancisco.thewigexchange.org or call (510) 333-7848.