EL PASO — Local Organization Offers Free Wigs to Women Battling Cancer
"I was surprised I had ovarian cancer. I didn't know I had it," said Ruth Ramirez.
In January...doctors diagnosed 66-year-old Ramirez with stage three ovarian cancer. As she prepares for her third round of chemotherapy... she's turned to the Rio Grande Cancer Foundation for "strands of hope."
"I'm going to be completely bald. I've already lost all of my hair on my arms and my legs...everywhere. I'll lose my eyelashes also," said Ramirez.
The foundation... along with the Green House Cancer Resource Center... allows patients like Ramirez to "wig out" and "brush-off" the negative effects of cancer through a project called the "Four Seasons Beauty Program."
"You look at yourself and you say this isn't me. And then you come down here and they make you feel again like you're a woman and you can do out in public and you can go dancing. You can go out and eat, which I love. And you don't feel embarrassed," said Ramirez.
"Four Seasons"... established in 2002... offers *free* wigs, scarves and hats to women battling cancer. Last year, about 400 patients received new locks from the program.
"They're mostly women who do not have insurance to cover wigs or who are under-insured and they don't have a policy that covers wigs, so they get to come here and get one free and it's absolutely wonderful for them," said "Four Seasons" Coordinator Cindi Martinez.
Martinez says on average, a new wig costs $40... and the new confidence in each woman is priceless.
"They come in kind of depressed or sad or just unsure. And then when we put the wig on, their face completely lights up," said Martinez.
Ramirez says being a little vain eases the pain.
"If you look good, you're going to feel good...that's my motto. And I feel good when I go to chemo because I know that after chemo I put my wig on and I look great," said Ramirez.
Perhaps she'll find out if blondes really do have more fun.
"Four Seasons" operates on donations.
On April 21st from 5-7 p.m... the Chamizal Theater will host a Beatles tribute concert which will benefit the program.
Tickets cost $20.
For more information on how you can help, call the Rio Grande Cancer Foundation at 562-7660.