Dee Why RSL Funds Northern Beaches Wig Library for Cancer Patients

Did you know that a wig library for cancer patients has opened at Northern Beaches Cancer Care? The free service has been made possible with the help of the Dee Why RSL.

The new wig library, which opened in June 2021, has an initial 100 wigs bought with the $25,000 funding delivered by members of the Dee Why RSL in collaboration with the Northern Beaches Community Cancer Charity. The group was approached by the Cancer Council NSW to assist with the project for the Oncology and Infusion Centre, which sees around 60 patients every week.

“We have all been affected by cancer in some way – whether it be personally, through friends, family or even the media – and the Wig Library initiative deeply moved the Board and Executive Management Team,” the group stated. “We were very honoured to be able to assist in some small way and through the support of our members, were able to donate $25,000 towards this initiative.”  

The Northern Beaches Cancer Care has volunteers who will help cancer patients pick out the right wig and dispense other grooming and care tips to make them feel better about wearing the accessory. These volunteers have undergone training with Cancer Council NSW’s Look Good Feel Better program. 

Photo Credit: Google Maps

Previously, cancer patients at the centre didn’t have a place to fit the wig given at the hospital. They also didn’t have an expert guide to tell them which wig will look better on their face and complexion. 

One cancer patient in remission was emotional when she saw the wig library. She said that wearing a wig and knowing how to groom and beautify herself has been a life-changing experience. It also made her feel normal again after weathering through a series of treatments. 

Another woman who has been getting her weekly treatment lauded this initiative to provide cancer patients access to beautiful hairpieces. Unknown to many, good, natural-looking wigs are quite expensive and hair loss can be a devastating experience for a lot of cancer patients. 

Dee Why Woman Reaping Benefits of New Cancer Drugs

A Dee Why local with stage four ovarian cancer has been reaping the benefits of new cancer drugs that could improve her survival rate.

Michelle Cole, the 52-year-old bus driver, has been seeing oncologist Dr Antonia Pearson at the Northern Beaches Hospital, who put her on Bevacizumab and PARP inhibitor on the very first day the Australian government made these treatments available via the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). 

Bevacizumab is a “tumour-starving drug” known by the brand name Avastin. The patient is also taking Caelyx, a life-prolonging chemotherapy medication. 

Photo Credit: Northern Beaches Hospital/Google Maps

Dr Pearson said that these new cancer drugs, which have been on the market since late 2020, are helping Ms Cole live a more normal life despite her advanced condition. Since being on the treatment, the Dee Why local, who is married to Kym Weekes, could still continue driving her bus routes for at least two hours or do the things she loves, like watching the games at the Beacon Hill Football Club where she used to play.

Ms Cole learned of her cancer in 2015 received treatment at the Manly Hospital. However, after a period of remission, her cancer came back in 2019 and it has spread to other parts of her body.

According to Dr Pearson, ovarian cancer is one of the trickiest diseases to diagnose since the symptoms are common to most women, such as bloating, abdominal discomforts, and always feeling tired. However, these new therapies are extending the life of the patients, especially if they regularly work with their oncologist. 

Both doctor and patient recommend that women should get tested for tumour markers earlier for better chances of prolonging their life.