A surgeon in Botswana contacted The Wig Exchange to discuss the conditions in her country and the need for wigs among her patients with the hope that The Wig Exchange could help. The Wig Exchange, which launched in 2012, has received over 10,000 donated wigs from cancer survivors or those who have lost a loved one. All wig donors share the desire to pay it forward by helping newly diagnosed women. As a result of their generosity, we have been able to send approximately 2,500 wigs overseas to 10 developing countries. The outpouring of gratitude from the recipients has been heartwarming and motivates us to continue to grow this program.
Wigs Without Borders®, a program created by SOUL RYEDERS, helps provide wigs to women with cancer in developing countries where cancer-related resources are critically lacking. Through our interactions with professionals working in low resource countries, we learned that in certain cultures, cancer is thought to be contagious and women, in particular, are often shunned by their communities once they are diagnosed with cancer. These women, in certain cultures, are considered to have evil spirits, are no longer deemed useful members of their communities or tribes, and are typically treated as outcasts. For these women, wearing a wig is not simply about normalcy or vanity — it can literally alter the course of their lives.
In 2014, we piloted Wigs Without Borders® in Botswana and Rwanda to place wig donations from our domestically based recycled wig program, The Wig Exchange, with women undergoing chemotherapy in these countries. We have since partnered with Global Focus on Cancer and Partners for Cancer Care and Prevention to distribute additional wigs to women in countries such as India, Vietnam and Colombia.
Wigs Without Borders® is not in any way affiliated with Doctors Without Borders®. Doctors Without Borders® is a registered trademark of Médecins Sans Frontières International.
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The smiles on these women’s faces are thanks to Partners for Cancer Care and Prevention (PFCCAP) who brought our wigs to their clinic in Bucamaranga, Colombia.
See more examples of how we have put generously donated wigs to good use around the globe.
“I am very thankful for you and your group for your generous expression of love and care by donating wigs to the women in Rwanda! These few shots (photographs she included with her response) do not do service to express the joy your gesture created for the women who received your gifts. The expression before and after required a movie producer who could have created a powerful documentary… Looking and feeling good is an indescribable experience for someone recovering from or undergoing chemo…”
– Founder and Director of Breast Cancer Initiative East Africa