My name is Sasha, and this mission began with my cousin Michelle Marie Zajac. Michelle was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma and had a large tumor surrounding her heart. Surgery was not an option so she immediately began chemo and radiation with the understanding that this would be a battle for the rest of her life and the issue of hair loss would happen multiple times.
After adjusting to treatment we discussed the idea of a wig. Since neither one of us had ever worn a wig we didn't realize how costly they are, especially for a good quality medical wig. She applied to a couple different charities that provide free wigs and one agreed to sent her one. The day she received it she immediately called me and I rushed to her. She was so excited. She opened the box and pulled out a very short, jet-black wig with straight cut bangs. Michelle's hair was light brown, all one length and just past her shoulders. I Watched as she went from elated to disappointed in a moment, seeing that is something I will never forget. It's not that she wasn't grateful, but she was very uncomfortable with such an extreme change to her appearance. We didn't realize the limitations and restrictions charities can have when giving. In most cases recipients must be terminal and color or length and texture are not taken into consideration. This left us confused and wanting to change the process for others.
I began cosmetology school shortly after, sadly Michelle passed away 2 months before I graduated. Michelle's experience changed my life, as I watched her struggle through the sick and sleepless nights, but the loss of identity that happens with hair loss was the worst. Michelle Marie's Wigs for Kids is in honor of Michelle, her story and others like her.