Social development grant grows skilled wigmakers
A cancer diagnosis comes as a shock; it is a life-changing event and can cause feelings of despair and anxiety. When a patient is diagnosed, the immediate focus is on their medical needs. As cancer treatment planning takes over, patients can feel lost and unprepared for what lies ahead.
One of the most profound experiences, apart from the initial shock of hearing you have cancer, is the hair loss many patients suffer due to their treatment. At the beginning of your cancer treatment journey, your oncologist and care team will discuss possible side effects with you, which can include chemotherapy-induced alopecia (CIA). CIA is a condition that can have a dramatic emotional impact on a patient’s mental health, body image, self-esteem, and quality of life.
“We often hear from patients that the biggest realisation of a cancer diagnosis is the moment they experience hair loss for the first time. Until that moment, most patients still look and feel like their pre-cancer selves and because hair loss changes your appearance so dramatically, it is a very traumatic experience for patients.” Says Beverley Sebastian, who heads the socioeconomic development committee at Icon Oncology.
Today, most cancer specialists take a holistic approach to cancer treatment, which includes offering psychosocial support to patients and their families. Studies have shown that cancer patients who receive support for their emotional and mental health needs are more resilient and deal better with their treatment. In the case of hair loss, a wig can help to significantly improve a person’s self-esteem and ability to continue with ‘normal’ activities.
More wigs for cancer patients
“It is this insight that motived Icon Oncology to award a social-development grant of R50 000, to Tymeless Necessity Hair, an entrepreneurial business in Gauteng that specialises in wigs and hair replacement products for people who suffer from hair loss,” explains Sebastian.
“While losing your hair may seem trivial in comparison to fighting for one’s life, remaining focused, proud, and self-assured plays a massive role in the recovery of cancer survivors. Helping cancer patients to gain back their confidence has always been close to my heart and motivated me to grow and evolve my business to offer a full hair and wig boutique,” explains Rani Chetty, owner and founder of Tymeless Necessity Hair.
Dedicated to helping clients with hair loss due to medical conditions, Tymeless Necessity Hair has evolved into a full hair and wig boutique that caters for all, with products that are sustainably sourced and ethically manufactured.
“Making a bespoke wig by hand is a specialist skill and a very time intensive process. The grant from Icon Oncology will help us to train and develop two new wigmakers, which in turn means more wigs for cancer patients,” explains Chetty.
“I always knew that someday I wanted to assist people to regain their confidence. Being proactive by helping cancer patients prepare for hair loss before it happens, making wigs with their own hair and seeing their joy in recognising themselves when they look in the mirror is one of the most rewarding experiences of my career,” concludes Chetty.