Wig library to boost confidence of teens with cancer

30 September 2015

Teenage cancer patients will be given a much-needed confidence boost during their treatment thanks to a wig library at the Queensland Children’s Hospital.

The free library, to be launched next month, will include a selection of 40 custom-made wigs in various styles and colours all designed for children from 13 to 18 years.

The wigs will be loaned to families for the duration of a patient’s treatment.

Children’s Health Queensland clinical nurse consultant Philippa Fielden, who has established the library with colleague Jane Roach, said wigs helped young people better cope with hair loss, one of the most devastating side effects of cancer treatment.
“Fighting cancer is a very challenging time for adolescents; they are dealing with physical changes while also trying to establish their identity and self-image,” Ms Fielden said.

“Many of our patients are unable to buy a wig due to the financial burden that cancer imposes on a family. Families usually have to forego buying a wig and use financial assistance they have available to cover everyday household and living expenses,” she said.

“Children’s Health Queensland has started this library because we want every teenager and young adult to have the choice of being able to wear a wig regardless of their family circumstance.”
Thirteen-year-old Annalise Curtis, of Tweed Heads, is one of the many Queensland teenagers who will benefit from the new service.
Annalise, who has been undergoing chemotherapy since she was diagnosed with cancer in March, said wearing a wig gave her confidence to go out in public places.

“It really helps with my self-esteem and I don’t feel any different to other kids my age,” the teenager said.
“This new wig library will make so many children happy.”
The wig library was made possible thanks to a $10,000 community grant from Cancer Council Queensland.

Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said the Community Grants Program provides funding to health care organisations and hospital departments to enhance the provision of local cancer care.

“We’re delighted to donate $10,000 to Queensland Children’s Hospital new Wig Library, which will have a direct and positive impact on the lives of children and young people battling cancer,” Ms Clift said.

“The Community Grants initiative improves comfort and quality of life for cancer patients by funding items and equipment that will enhance privacy, comfort and dignity for patients and their carers.

“Since the program was launched in 2011, Cancer Council Queensland has injected around half a million dollars into hospital departments and community organisations caring for Queenslanders affected by cancer.”


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Notes to editor:
The wig library is a joint initiative of the Queensland Children’s Cancer Centre and the Queensland Youth Cancer Service, based at the Queensland Children’s Hospital.

The Queensland Youth Cancer Service (QYCS) is a statewide service for 15 to 25 year olds with cancer. The QYCS is a partnership between the Queensland Children’s Hospital, the Princess Alexandra Hospital, the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Gold Coast University Hospital and The Townsville Hospital.