How Being Diagnosed with Cancer Twice Inspired One Woman to Start a Genius Wig Exchange


After losing her hair to a second cancer diagnosis 8 years ago, Carolyn Keller founded EBeauty, a wig sell module for women battling all forms of cancer. The grounds of a classification is simple: A lady who has come to a finish of her tour with cancer donates her wig to a organization, that afterwards sanitizes, styles, and repurposes a wig for another lady who has only been diagnosed. It’s a pleasing approach for a newly diagnosed to feel desirous and connected to a women who have battled a illness before them, and during a same time a cathartic knowledge for a lady who is prepared to let go of what can be a earthy pointer of illness.

Thanks to Keller, no lady pays a singular cent for her EBeauty wig, and so distant a organization’s efforts have impacted scarcely 30,000 women opposite a country. For her suggestive work in a cancer community, Keller is one of L’Oreal’s 10 Women of Worth nominees this year, and could acquire a $25,000 concession to Ebeauty from a cosmetics powerhouse if she’s voted as a brand’s National Honoree in December.

Here, Keller describes a good, a bad, and a nauseous of cancer—everything from losing her toenails to anticipating a new family—and how EBeauty is changing a lives of women one wig during a time.

How would we report what EBeauty is to someone who has never listened of a classification before?

The judgment of EBeauty is to support women undergoing diagnosis for cancer—through a wig-exchange module and some-more recently by a sanatorium partnership program. The wig sell module is a elementary grounds that has a absolute impact. One lady donates her wig to EBeauty, it gets cleaned, it gets refurbished, restyled, reprocessed, and afterwards it is donated to another lady who is only starting her journey. And we mentioned a sanatorium partnership program, that is…we had so many wigs come in that we motionless we indispensable other outlets to be means to discharge them. To get them into a hands of a women that indispensable them a most. So once that worked, and it worked so well, we motionless to enhance that module and now that’s substantially a biggest opening for removing wigs out into a community.

To date, EBeauty has donated some-more than 28,000 wigs to women in need.

How did your possess diagnosis come into play when starting EBeauty?

I was diagnosed with cancer twice, unfortunately. In my family there have been 5 women that have been diagnosed with cancer, myself included. So it unequivocally strike a family. It’s been unequivocally impactful for us. Quite frankly, we hear those disproportion and you’re terrified. And in my box (the initial time around), we did not have to do chemo, luckily. we was some-more shocked of that than anything else. For some peculiar reason it seemed easier for me to have a double mastectomy.

So we went that route, all clear, no worries, suspicion we was good to go. And afterwards a year and a half after we felt another lump. And that’s when life unequivocally took a opposite turn.

we went by chemo, we mislaid all of my hair everywhere—toenails, everything. The initial physical, real pointer that you’ve got cancer is when you’re losing your hair. It was losing my hair that unequivocally was a fulfilment of “Oh my god, now we demeanour ill. we demeanour sick.” It was unequivocally traumatic, unequivocally hard. And since of a work EBeauty does, we hear lots of stories, and this is not an surprising feeling. we consider everybody has a same impulse of holding a low exhale and going “Oh my God, I’m going to remove my hair.”

What was a accurate impulse for we where we motionless to start EBeauty?

We had 5 opposite women in my family that went by cancer. And one family member had offering her wig to another and when they exchanged it, all of a remarkable a suspicion clicked. And we thought, You know what, if it can work in my family, since couldn’t it work with other families, or since couldn’t it work opposite a country? Why couldn’t women work on this arrange of sell idea? And during that impulse EBeauty arrange of came to reality.

Did we feel like your temperament was compromised when we were going by chemotherapy?

If we start your day looking in a counterpart and feeling like, My God, I’ve got cancer and it could win—because it’s a battle, it’s unequivocally a quarrel that we’re fighting.

I’m going to quarrel this and we need my armor. And a partial of my armor is my hair.

And if we demeanour in a counterpart and we see that, we have to change your mindset to Okay, I’m going to quarrel this and we need my armor. And a partial of my armor is my hair. And we have this wig and she’s going to assistance me get by a day. And it’s unequivocally formidable for a lot of people for a series of reasons. They’re in a workplace and they don’t wish their coworkers 1) to know or 2) to be deliberating it or constantly be reminded of it with questions of ‘How do we feel today?’ And afterwards there’s a impact on immature children—so many immature women are removing diagnosed now and they have kids in a residence that don’t utterly know since Mommy is losing all of her hair. There are unequivocally some women that infantryman on [without wigs]—we had an eventuality with Robin Roberts and she donated her wig to EBeauty on her show, Good Morning America a integrate years ago. And when she was going by how it impacted her, she pronounced a initial time [she was diagnosed] she was assembly with presidents and she didn’t wish to be bald since she didn’t wish a story to be about her. And a second time she was like, ‘Have during it. You know what? we have cancer and I’m not going to worry about it.’ So it impacts people differently, though I’d contend a infancy of us wish that additional bit of confidence.”

What’s been your favorite partial of first and operative with this organization?

“For a lady who was donating her wig…it was a approach for her to put her cancer behind her.”

One thing that we did not comprehend in a unequivocally commencement of this was how critical it was for a lady who was donating her wig, how it was a approach for her to pierce brazen and put her cancer behind her. And to during a same time be means to support another woman, so kind of creation it a whole round of giving, receiving, and giving again. we have to tell you, it unequivocally is such a elementary premise. With all a terrible things going on in a universe today, it’s such a good thing to see that somebody cares, packages adult their wigs, sends them in to us with poetic notes—a lot of times with a concession to assistance us with a cleaning, shipping, or whatever. And they’re all unequivocally only saying, “I only wish to assistance a subsequent lady with this. we can’t do a lot, though we can do this.”

What if EBeauty didn’t exist? What would a women we offer compensate (out of pocket) for a wig?

They can be anywhere from around $300-$5,000. And if we consider about it, many of a ones that are donated are on a top scale. We’re removing pleasing wigs that were hardly ever worn, and they kind of tell a story. If we’re looking for a long, blonde-haired wig, we go to a packages from Dallas. You know? You unequivocally start to brand where wigs are entrance from and what women are wearing in opposite tools of a country. But they can be intensely expensive, generally for a lady who doesn’t have a ability to compensate her medical bills. It’s only another weight on her shoulders. We ask for a doctor’s note or an oncology note and that’s a border of it. And afterwards a wigs are free. And fundamentally we could have a note from your mom and we’d give we a wig. We wish to get as many out into a hands that need them.”

A singular wig can set a lady behind anywhere from $300-$5,000.

Tell me about your attribute with your possess wigs.

we had privately named my wigs, they were my friends, we welcomed them each morning.”

we had two, and we had privately named my wigs, they were my friends, we welcomed them each morning. There are a lot of women who wear dual or three, so maybe they have one that they’ve paid for and they wish a backup wig, they can come to Ebeauty for that. We don’t stipulate, really.

If you’re comparison as a National Honoree, L’Oreal will present $25,000 to EBeauty. What would we do with those funds?

It’s my idea regardless, either we win or don’t, to supplement some-more hospitals to a program. Right now we have 10 hospitals that are indeed on site giving a wigs out, and they’re major—they’re John Hopkins, they’re Georgetown University, they’re MedStar, and they’re opposite a country. So we would like to see us be in all of a vital markets and afterwards arrange of filter out to a sub-markets until we cover a country. So that’s where my enlargement routine is.

What has it been like to work with—and be nominated by—L’Oreal as a Woman of Worth?

I indeed was nominated by a house member and didn’t know anything about it. So when we was comparison we roughly suspicion it was a joke. we was like, “Really, this isn’t indeed L’Oreal is it?” we was unequivocally honored. And I’m vacant with a classification and their overdo and their ability to have a foreknowledge to commend women like myself that unequivocally have a boots on a belligerent and are perplexing to make a difference.

“All of a nominees are unequivocally creation a disproportion since we saw an inclination in a community…”

All of a nominees are unequivocally creation a disproportion since we saw an inclination in a village and motionless to make a disproportion and change it. So to be honoring [these women] is unequivocally judicious on their partial and we consider it speaks rarely for how, in today’s world, we see women. It isn’t only about a tall, skinny blonde. It’s about a lady who feels good in her skin and is assured and is peaceful to mount adult for herself and make a disproportion and be counted. And we consider [L’Oreal] recognizes that.”

Click here to opinion for L’Oreal’s Women of Worth National Honoree. Voting ends Friday, Nov 30 and a National Honoree will be announced on Dec 5.


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