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She was always bleaching her hair in high school and experimenting with new styles. That’s how Wilma Cross remembers her interest in cosmetology. That interest led her to open a shop in her Greenwood home. That was 40 years ago and she’s still cutting, curling, and coloring hair.
Two years ago, when she was diagnosed with leukemia, she learned of a program supported by the American Cancer Society called “Look Good Feel Better.” Each year, 50,000 women throughout the United States are treated to a makeover session that focuses on hair and makeup specific to their cancer. Volunteers host 15,000 workshops throughout the United States at various locations, and Cross became one of those volunteer presenters.
“I went through chemo for six months and I didn’t lose my hair but I know how it feels to those who do lose their hair. Not only that but you are tired, you are drained,” said Cross. “This is a way to lift your spirits and make you feel better during a very difficult time.”
When the opportunity became available for her to work with the Cancer Resource Center wig bank at IU Health Simon Cancer Center, Cross said she felt like it was a calling. She lost her husband to pancreatic cancer seven years ago and is all too familiar with the struggles families and patients face.
“In some ways coming to IU Health Simon Cancer Center felt like coming home. I feel comfortable here,” said Cross, who will focus on wig fittings and consultations, scheduled through Simon Cancer Center caregivers or the Cancer Resource Center staff.
More about Cross:
-- By T.J. Banes, Associate Senior Journalist at IU Health.
Reach Banes via email at T.J. Banes or on Twitter @tjbanes.