BUDDY CHECK 3: Springfield groups work together to provide wigs for cancer patients

Published: Mar. 3, 2022 at 4:14 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 3, 2022 at 5:29 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Thursday marks another Buddy Check 3 Day, which falls on the third day of every month. It’s a time when we remind you to check with a buddy to troubleshoot breast cancer.

Janet Plemmons has always taken pride in her beautiful chestnut colored hair. So 11 years ago, when she was first diagnosed with breast cancer, she lost her hair to chemotherapy. Janet said it was hard on her, and it kind of takes away your identity.

Back then, Janet managed mostly with scarves and focused on just surviving the disease that had already spread to several areas in her body. She said treatment involved hours and hours of chemotherapy and radiation.

Now after more than a decade, treatment and survival have just become a way of life for Janet. Despite ongoing side effects, she still manages her own home, a job, and a close relationship with her daughter.

Recently, when an opportunity came up to remember her hair the way it used to be, she was all in.

Shelly Sachs Wig Room, inside the offices of the GYN Cancers Alliance, is a nonprofit for women with gynecological cancers. Janet was referred there by the Breast Cancer Foundation of the Ozarks. All three organizations have traditionally provided wigs in separate ways for their clients, and recently they have found a way to work together.

Marsha Calhoun is the Community Development Coordinator for GYNCA. She says, “We’ve partnered with BCFO and the Shelly Sachs Foundation and are able to go ahead and provide wigs to ladies all throughout the community that are losing their hair to cancer.”

Marsha has had training to fit women with their new wigs. She says some people want something completely different than their own hair, but most people want something almost the exact same.

Either way, Marsha says the wigs cannot replace a cancer patient’s own hair, but it seems to give them back their identity. Marsha says, “I get to meet some of the most amazing women. Just to be able to have them come in here and give them just a little bit of support and let them know people care, the community cares. I thing it makes a whole big difference.”

It has for Janet, who can forget about the struggle for a moment and just enjoy her new look. Janet says the idea that she gets to appear normal helps a lot and it makes her journey a lot easier.

GYNCA takes referrals for a new wig from BCFO and The Shelly Sachs Foundation. And don’t forget to sign up for our Buddy Check 3 program HERE.

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