December 5, 2016 10:18 pm

Cancer, wigs unite Kelowna patients fighting same type of disease


Two women fighting the same type of disease said they walked away from a Kelowna wig bank not only having found new hair but also having formed a new friendship.

Linda Damant said it was in July that she was diagnosed with lung cancer which spread to her brain.

“The only problem I had with the chemo was my hair just fell out,” Damant said.

“One day I was having a shower and I had all these horrible clumps of hair all over me.”

Damant said the loss of hair actually didn’t bother her too much, aside from the fact that being diagnosed with cancer and losing so much hair was a lot to take in all at once.

“It didn’t affect me too much,” Damant said.

She went to the Southern Interior Rotary Lodge in Kelowna, where cancer patients like her can get free wigs.

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That’s where she met a woman, named Donna Jensen, with a very familiar story.

Jensen was also diagnosed with lung cancer this summer and it too spread to her brain.

But for Jensen, losing her hair also meant losing her confidence.

“In my opinion, you don’t feel worthy anymore,” Jensen said.

“To lose your hair is like losing a limb. People that have hair and haven’t been through it, just maybe can’t understand.

Jensen said the hair loss is also a visible reminder of the illness.

“[I] saw it every morning when [I] woke up and there was nothing there, [whereas] the cancer you don’t see,” Jensen said.

That’s why both women are happy to hear about a recent boost to the Canadian Cancer Society’s wig bank program.

The Pacific Blue Cross Health Foundation is donating $150,000 to the cause over five years.

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The society said the money will help about 2,000 people at its four lodges in B.C., including the one in Kelowna.

“We have on average 250 people coming in a year,” Kelowna lodge manager Philip Jansen said.

“We also have people coming to stay at the lodge will have access the wig banks.”

The society’s other three wig banks are in Vancouver, Victoria and Prince George.

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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