The Wig Exchange

Martina Scanlan

Role: Client Coordinator, San Francisco Bay Area

About me: I am a homemaker and mother to two daughters in Moraga, CA. Before retiring to raise my children, I spent many years in the design industry, and was Publisher of Interiors and Sources magazine in Chicago, IL. As my daughters have grown, I have become more actively involved in volunteer activities and have developed a passion for helping those in need. Beyond these pursuits, I enjoy exercising, traveling and spending time with my family.

Why I got involved: Cancer has had a terrible impact on my life. Besides being a breast cancer survivor myself (having contracted the disease at age 24), I have had to witness this horrible disease claim the lives of my best friend and bridesmaid (melanoma: age 25), my mother (colon cancer: age 59), and my father (leukemia: age 69), and I now watch my brother who is age 32 battle bladder cancer. Over the years I have been an avid participant in the Avon and Susan Komen walks for Breast Cancer, and have been touched by so many courageous stories of women fighting this terrible scourge. While I am confident that the new medical inroads to battling this disease are becoming more potent and targeted, the emotional and spiritual support that cancer victims so desperately need will continue to be a priority in this country going forward. One of the huge emotional impacts of cancer is the damage it can do to one’s self esteem. Treatments can leave women weak and physically altered, and while the body may be battling this disease, the mind can sometimes retreat to a vulnerable place. The Wig Exchange helps women to emotionally deal with this fight.

What makes The Wig Exchange special?: Anyone who has struggled with a physical or emotional challenge knows that it always helps to have someone in your corner. Knowing that one isn’t alone is an immensely powerful psychological boost. The Wig Exchange not only helps women undergoing debilitating treatment bolster their self-esteem through cosmetic improvements, it also serves the important task of helping a cancer victim understand that they aren’t in this fight alone. The emotional support and comfort delivered by our dedicated volunteers offers a game-changing, powerful dimension in helping cancer victims feel empowered in fighting this disease. We offer support in spurring the vulnerable mind to join with the body in confronting the challenge of cancer. Being involved in this endeavor has also profoundly changed my life. It has taught me that human courage and tenacity exists all around us….and, it has also demonstrated that love and compassion truly does conquer everything in life.