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Wigs, gas cards provide 'peace of mind' for breast cancer patients

Posted on Sep. 7, 2016 ( comments)
Good Samaritan Cancer Resource Center Wig Room

Wigs are available to cancer patients through the Dr. Richard C. Ostenson Cancer Center.

For those facing a cancer diagnosis, treatment and prognosis is a chief priority. But financial concerns come up, too — and not just about treatment costs, but everyday expenses that may take on new importance, or strain a family’s budget.

“They wonder, ‘How am I going to pay for gas to get to radiation every week?’” says Donna Banks, RN, Breast Health Program Coordinator at MultiCare Good Samaritan Hospital.

Come Walk With Me, a breast cancer walk taking place Oct. 1, raises money to help with these kinds of expenses for breast cancer patients. You don’t need to attend the event to donate, and donations are accepted through the end of October.

Gas cards and Safeway grocery cards are just one of the items covered by funds raised for the event.

Wigs for women in cancer treatment, provided at the Dr. Richard C. Ostenson Cancer Center at Good Samaritan, are another item made possible by funds raised at Come Walk With Me.

Wigs make a huge difference, according to Tamara Miller, BSHS, LE, Good Samaritan’s Cancer Resource Center Coordinator. Miller has helped hundreds of women in treatment for cancer choose wigs and learn how to care for them.

“For some women, losing their hair can be just as hard as the cancer diagnosis itself,” Miller says. “It makes them feel like less of a woman.”

But after an hour-long appointment with Miller, patients often feel like themselves again.

“It’s quite the transformation,” Miller says. “They feel they can go out in public with confidence.”

Donna, a Tacoma-area cancer patient who went to the center for a wig fitting, says Miller was patient and understanding and that the whole process gave her peace of mind.

“I thought, this is the best hour I’ve had since I’ve been diagnosed,” says Donna.

Other items funded by Come Walk With Me include:

  • Her Peace of Mind, a program that provides free and reduced-cost screening and diagnostic mammograms to women needing financial assistance
  • Post-mastectomy camisoles
  • Resource kits for newly diagnosed patients
  • Education and support in the form of presentations, support groups and exercise classes

How much should I donate?

Here are some examples of what your donation would go toward:

  • A donation of $40 covers the cost of a post-mastectomy camisole, which is specially designed for women to wear after their surgery
  • A donation of $60-90 covers a wig, wig liner and a wig fitting
  • A donation of $50 or more covers a gas card or Safeway card
  • A donation of $137-$260 covers a free/reduced cost screening or diagnostic mammogram

But the amount you donate isn’t what’s important, Banks says.

“It doesn’t matter how small the donation is,” she says. “You’re helping these women get through one of the most difficult times, if not the most difficult time, in their lives.”

Remember, you don’t need to attend the walk to donate — donations are accepted online through the end of October.

Come Walk With Me 5k

  • Saturday, Oct. 1
  • Walk begins at 9am at Old Cannery in Sumner
  • Register online
  • Register in person at the Puyallup South Sound Running store, 115 S Meridian, Sept. 7-28

Her Peace of Mind Mammography Voucher Program

For more information about Her Peace of Mind, a mammography voucher program for women needing assistance paying for mammograms, call 253-697-4927.

Dr. Richard C. Ostenson Cancer Resource Center at Good Samaritan

For questions about the resources provided at the Good Samaritan Cancer Resource Center, including wig fittings and post-mastectomy camisoles, visit www.multicare.org/cancer-goodsam/ or call 253-697-4899.

About The Author

Roxanne Cooke Roxanne Cooke

Roxanne Cooke is our senior content editor and manages VitalsKite Strings and Bring Happy Back, plus special projects such as 24 Hours at Tacoma General Hospital and The Healthy Futures Project. She tells stories in words, photos and video. You can reach her at [email protected]

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