The Tri-City Hospital Foundation today sought community support to continue funding a program that provides wigs to patients battling cancer.
The Wigs For Hope program provides free custom-fitted wigs to women undergoing chemotherapy at Tri-City Medical Center, but the program's funding has ended.
The foundation has launched a Facebook fundraiser to crowdfund donations, with a goal of $8,500. Every dollar raised will go directly to continuing the Wigs For Hope program.
Licensed vocational nurse Renee Ebejer has been running the program since 2018. She works one-on-one with patients to define their specific needs, find a wig that fits, guide them to support meetings and anything else they may require.
"I took the program under my wings two years ago to support the women's self-confidence as they journey through their treatment plans," Ebejer said. "It's always such a pleasure seeing their level of happiness when we find the right look and fit."
Maria Ochoa said the program was an important part of her recovery.
"I didn't want to hear it will grow back. My hair was a part of my identity and the idea of losing all of it was incomparable," she said. "My nurse and the cancer care navigator who runs the wig program at Tri-City Women's Center, Renee Ebejer, understood what I needed as a person, not just a patient. Renee gave a voice to my loss. She genuinely felt my pain and then found the treatment to alleviate that pain, which was as simple as providing a wig."