Give happy live happy

Posted 6 Mar 2019.

Cancer Council WA Wig Library volunteers, Barbara Harris and Denise Schmidt

Having been through her own cancer journey, the decision to take up a volunteer role with Cancer Council WA's Wig Library was an easy one to make for newly retired Barbara Harris from Dianella.

"After retiring, I wanted to dedicate the extra time I had to do something meaningful and the Cancer Council Wig Library is a perfect fit for me, it's a very personal experience and I thoroughly enjoy it," Barbara said.

Our Wig Library is a free service for men and women experiencing hair loss as a result of cancer treatment. The Wig Library has an extensive range of wigs, turbans, beanies and scarves in a range of styles and colours that can be borrowed, at no cost, for as long as required while going through cancer treatment.

"A lot of the time clients at the Wig Library just want to talk first and I really empathise with them because, you know, I've been there before.

"Most people don't really know what to expect when they first come in but once I show them all the different wigs and scarves available to them they start to feel comfortable and go home feeling a lot better about themselves than when they came in."

Barbara volunteers alongside fellow Dianella resident, Denise Schmidt who has been volunteering with Cancer Council for 19 years. Denise dedicates one Wednesday a month to the Wig Library program.

Her cancer connection began in 2000 after her mother passed away from the disease.

"A year later my husband passed away from a brain tumour," Denise said.

"I go home (after a shift) and I get a bit teary and I just think ‘wow'. I always tell my family not to complain because the people I see through the service really remind me how lucky we are."

  • The Wig Library service is only made possible thanks to community donations and our wonderful volunteers
  • Just last year, 409 wigs, turbans and accessories were loaned free of charge to cancer patients who accessed the service.
  • In the last 20 years, the service has assisted over 14000 West Australians affected by cancer.

The Wig Library service is run entirely by volunteers and Barbara and Denise both encourage people to get involved and volunteer with Cancer Council WA.

"If you have the spare time, why not give back? It's just so good for your soul," Denise said.

"You don't need any experience and when a client walks out and they're beaming - that's just a delightful feeling."

Barbara added: "When they give you a hug - that's when you really know how appreciative they are and it just makes our day."

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Found in:  News - 2019 | View all news