PEI

Canadian Cancer Society wig and breast prosthesis bank running virtually

After being forced to temporality shut down services due to COVID-19, the Canadian Cancer Society's wig and breast prosthesis bank are up and running again — virtually. 

'There's good things that come out of some of these changes'

The Canadian Cancer Society's wig and breast prosthesis bank is back but works differently now. (Laura Meader/CBC)

After having to temporality shut down services due to COVID-19, the Canadian Cancer Society's wig and breast prosthesis bank is up and running again — virtually. 

"As of Aug. 17, we are happy that we've been able to resume our wig and breast accessories bank across the country via a virtual distribution system," Jayna Stokes, manager of support services for the P.E.I. chapter of the Canadian Cancer Society told Island Morning's Stephanie Kelly.

"All Canadians, regardless of where they live, can access free wigs and breast accessories with just a simple phone call."

Before the pandemic, people experiencing hair loss due to cancer treatment would be fitted with a wig in person. Now, Stokes said a specialist can help people find a wig by calling 1-888-939-3333.

It can be really difficult to adjust to changes like hair loss.— Jayna Stokes, Canadian Cancer Society

"What we'll do is do our very best to figure out the best wig for them and send that out to them," she said. "Hopefully, it's a great match.

"If not, they're also going to be able to advise them on how to send it back to us." 

Benefits to virtual system

According to Stokes, "it was definitely hard" not being able to provide the services during the past few months. She said people would phone in looking for wigs but because their offices and the lodges that store the supplies were closed, they weren't able to distribute them.

'I think the virtual program will definitely stick around as well,' says Jayna Stokes, manager of support services for the P.E.I. chapter of the Canadian Cancer Society. (Brittany Spencer/CBC)

"It can be really difficult to adjust to changes like hair loss," said Stokes. "We really want to be able to help women living with cancer find wigs." 

Moving forward, Stokes said they do plan to reopen for in-person fittings when that becomes an option. But, there are benefits to the virtual option as well. 

For example, Stokes said those living with cancer are sometimes prone to anxiety when leaving their homes. 

"I think the virtual program will definitely stick around," she said.

"There is something to that, that no matter where you live in Canada, you'll be able to get that wig delivered right to your door."

More from CBC P.E.I. 

With files from Island Morning

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