It is hard to believe the end of the summer is here, and there are no words for how excited I am about the end of our application freeze! Since we started accepting applications again on Tuesday, they have been pouring in. Cancer patients from New York to California have been writing in and asking for help in feeling like themselves during their cancer treatment. We ask every applicant what obtaining a high-quality wig means to them, and their words are so powerful in articulating why we do this work:
“It means that at least one aspect of my appearance will look like I did before my illness. It will give me confidence to carry on. It will also allow my children to see me as they remember. Not as mom who is sick. My children are my world and if I can continue to have somewhat of normality it will make the fight ahead that much easier”
“It will give me confidence to go out in public and feel pretty.”
“It would allow me to go to church, and to cover my hearing aid.”
“Throughout my cancer, my main concern are my boys, 12 and 14. I would like to feel confident enough to attend their school/athletic functions. I need to return to work as soon as possible after my [treatment.] Having a quality wig will help me return with my head held high…”
As many of you know by now, my mom was diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer in January 2012, and she tested positive for the BRCA2 gene mutation shortly thereafter. Now that I know more about the BRCA mutation, it seems so clear that based on her extensive family history of cancer and her Ashkenazi Jewish heritage, she should have been tested long before she received her cancer diagnosis. But, genetic testing for cancer genes is a relatively new medical advancement, and, until very recently, doctors did not regularly recommend genetic testing in a prophylactic capacity without something more compelling than just a troublesome family history. Such testing was, at that time, not covered by insurance and cost prohibitive for patients. Still, the news of my mom’s BRCA-positive status was a slap in the face. Why didn’t doctors at least tell my mom about the potentially life-saving option of testing, and allow her to make the decision for herself? The what-ifs that stem from this question still regularly keep me up at night, and form the basis of my constant urging my girlfriends and Lolly’s Locks’ recipients that self-advocacy is one of the most important things you do can for your health: ask questions about benefits, risks and alternatives of any proposed course of action, and move to another provider if you don’t feel like you are heard or that you are not being given all of the pertinent information.
The last time you saw your first-born grandson, he was just 4-months-old. Adorably alert with the bluest of eyes, quick to smile, and just getting to the pudgy stage of baby that was your favorite. In those 4 short months, you were the best grandma that any child could ask for. We brought him home to your house because you knew that you were just too sick to come help at ours. You set up a crib, with the cutest lamb mobile, and stocked my old bedroom for everything a baby could want. You insisted on installing a car-seat in your car as well as ours, and I am pretty sure that you knew his cries better than I did. You bathed him with me, helped me nurse, and you bought him anything you could get your hands on in his size. You sang him every song you knew from your life as an early-childhood educator, and you marveled at everything he did. Read More →
Today, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Maggie Linton to talk about Lolly’s Locks on SiriusXM’s The Maggie Linton Show. It is always such an honor to be asked to talk about the organization of which I am so proud to be a part of everyday. I am so grateful to Maggie for taking the time to learn about what Lolly’s Locks does, and for sharing it with her audience.
I know that I am no Angelina Jolie, but I hope that I can help add something to this important dialogue that she bravely started by opening up and sharing my perspective that learning that you carry a BRCA mutation isn’t like getting a death sentence, but, rather, a chance to take measures to save your life.
Lolly’s Locks is pleased to announce Ms. Cokie Roberts as emcee for its 3rd Annual Evening of Food, Fashion & Inspiration. This not-to-be-missed event takes place on Thursday, March 26th from 6:30pm to 9:30pm at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, 1250 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20005.
As well-known and respected political commentator for ABC news and National Public Radio, Cokie Roberts provides analysis for all network news programming.
In a broadcasting career spanning more than 40 years, Roberts has won countless awards, including three Emmys. She has been inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame and was named by American Women in Radio and Television as one of the 50 greatest women in the history of broadcasting. Read More →
Today Lolly’s Locks hit an important and exciting milestone: we granted our 200th wig! The more women we help, the more the word spreads about what we do, and applications have been coming in at a fast and furious pace. To put it in perspective, when Lolly’s Locks first started in the fall of 2012, it was a busy month if we received 10 applications. Slowly but surely, women have found out about our organization, and over the past few months, it has become routine for Lolly’s Locks to get more than 15 applications in a week. The application rate shows no sign of slowing down, and indeed, it seems to continue to climb exponentially as the weeks pass.
Our applicant pool is incredibly diverse. Thus far, our recipients hail from 41 states, plus DC, span several races and ethnicities, are in treatment for almost every type of cancer imaginable, and range in age from 18 to well into their 70s.
The debate in the Lolly’s Locks office today? Whether the military language we use around cancer is effective in helping patients feel empowered and encouraged, or whether it promotes guilt and frustration when the disease advances despite a patient’s following every order and advice from his or her medical team, or when a prognosis turns terminal. This topic has actually been on my radar since my mom’s diagnosis with an especially deadly and advanced form of ovarian cancer. After she was informed of her diagnosis following a long and draining surgery, she understandably spiraled into a deep depression. Immediately, well-meaning friends and loved ones, including myself, started trying to pump her up for her “battle” with cancer. Cards and text messages poured in, each one urging her to “stand up to” this awful disease. This kind of rhetoric never really stopped: even after doctors told her that there was nothing more that could be done, people implored her “not to give up,” and cheered her on by telling her that she could still “win the fight,” if she would just [do the work], [put her mind to it], [embrace alternative therapies]…” And from the very beginning, even when it seemed that there was hope in treatment, she rejected such rhetoric, saying that it placed an unfair burden on her to rise to a challenge that she felt was out of her control.
When we first set out to create Lolly’s Locks, I, like most people, assumed that wigs made from real hair were always superior to synthetic wigs. After more than a year of providing high-quality wigs to all kinds of women, I’ve now come to realize that this is not always the case. In fact, for many women synthetic wigs make more sense and can be just as lovely and undetectable as wigs made from real hair.
The two most important factors to consider when deciding between real-hair and synthetic wigs are the amount of maintenance required and the length of the style. Here are some facts all women should know when wig shopping and deciding what kind of wig would make the most sense for them: Read More →
We introduced Lolly’s Locks into the world of cancer charities at an ambitious and wildly successful kick-off event last November at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington DC. The event, which we planned in just about 3 months, was billed as an Evening of Food, Fashion, and Inspiration. There is no other word to describe the night of our inaugural event than magical. In order for me to explain what I mean by that, allow me to set the stage: Read More →