TORONTO – The longest serving hair replacement salon in Canada offers free wigs to children with medical hair loss through the Wigs for Kids program.
Michael Suba is the president of Continental Hair Salon, a salon started by his parents, and the founder of Wigs for Kids. Michael had never wanted to get into the wig business but that changed when he was diagnosed with cancer.
In 1990 Michael was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s and even though he was one of the few that did not lose his hair due to chemotherapy he still saw what a difference his parents business made.
“And then you start seeing these kids and what difference it makes in them and the little notes that you get, you can’t turn away from it, it’s just too wonderful,” Michael said.
After a year of treatment Michael decided to become more involved with hair replacement solutions in order to help others, especially children, and started the Wigs for Kids program at the Odette Cancer Centre at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.
“People donate their hair to us and we make them into small cap wigs for children that we give away for free to any child under 12 in Canada that has a medical type of hair loss,” Michael said.
For almost a decade, 15-year-old Kea Buote and her mother Trish have travelled from Brockville to receive wigs from Michael.
Kea was only six-years-old when her mother decided to get her, her first wig.
“She’s never had hair,” Trish said.
“At this point it’s not expected that she’ll ever have hair. So the wigs are incredibly important for her just to feel normal and fit in and that’s really important to her.”
Michael travels the world to find the most innovative solutions, highest quality hair and best places to make the wigs.
Diana Caruso lost her hair at the age of four due to alopecia areata and is a long time client of Michaels. She now volunteers with the Canadian Alopecia Areata Foundation,
“My heart was telling me I needed to be an advocate,” she said.
“I needed little girls, little boys, to know that just because you don’t look like anybody else because you don’t have hair –as the society stigma that is constant in this world – you can be whoever you want to be, hair or no hair. I want them to know that they don’t have to hide it, I want them to know that they are so beautiful inside.”