The Mirror Image Room in Penticton has one goal: to help help women going through chemotherapy due to cancer — suffering hair loss — find some stress relief from the trauma of treatment, in a safe space.
Started in 2006, it is entirely volunteer-run and provides head coverings from wigs, to scarves, to turbans. The cost of obtaining a wig can be prohibitive, and everything they provide to their clients is free-of-charge thanks to donations, and there is no cost to book an appointment and come in to select wig.
“Losing one’s hair can be a very emotional and stressful time,” says current coordinator Evelyn Markin, a breast cancer survivor, as is the Image Room’s founder, Marlene Gawley when it was part of the Canadian Cancer Society. “Feeling good about oneself is important during treatment.”
All of the volunteers are cancer survivors and know first-hand how a service like this can help. The wigs first came from the Canadian Cancer Society in Vancouver but are now donated by others, and volunteer Brenda Thompson has been sewing turbans and other head wear since the beginning of the Mirror Image Room. Wigs are accepted back when someone no longer needs them so that others can benefit, and are lent back out after being cleaned. Other head wear is kept by clients.
The Image Room recently found a new space thanks to the South Okanagan Women in Need Society, after being gifted space by local chiropractor Dr. James Cooper.
“We have had wonderful support to keep a space for appointments, and had brochures donated by Munday Media so patients can pick up info while at treatment,” says Evelyn, noting that Survivorship, a dragon boat team of breast cancer survivors, has also been generous.
Appointments are necessary so a volunteer can see a client in person, with safety protocols in place, and can be made through their Facebook page. Donations are always appreciated to keep this important service going and to purchase new wigs to keep up with changing styles; send a message through Facebook as well to find out how you can help.
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