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How Nine Wigs Helped a 21-Year-Old Cope With Cancer

At Riviera Hair Replacement, we have many clients who come to us because they are or will soon be facing hair loss from chemotherapy. Partial or total hair loss is quite common when men and women receive chemotherapy treatments. Radiation can also affect hair growth and cause thinning and hair loss.

The hair loss that results from cancer treatments is usually temporary. Hair usually grows back once treatments stop. In some cases, the hair that grows in is similar to the way it was before chemo. In others, the hair changes and becomes straighter, curlier, finer, or coarser.

Some cancer patients do not mind hair loss and wear scarves or hats throughout their treatments. Others prefer to wear a wig – often one that resembles their ordinary hair color and style. Sometimes, wearing a wig makes people with cancer feel “normal,” which can be an important part of battling the disease.

For a few select people with cancer, losing hair is something they accept and even embrace. These patients might find wearing a wig something they enjoy and even choose multiple colors and styles to fit their moods or activities.

One such cancer patient is a young woman named Sophie van der Stap. Sophie’s story begins when she was 21 and was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer. Thankfully, her story is not over, and she is 32 and cancer-free. In between, however, Sophie relied heavily on her wigs to help her through her cancer battle. Nine of them, to be exact. Each one was unique, had a distinct personality and a name. Each wig helped Sophie cope with her diagnosis. Sophie chronicled her story in a book called The Girl With Nine Wigs.

Wigs Provided an Escape for Cancer Patient

Sophie told People Magazine that the wigs “were a way of escaping my illness.” Also, Sophie loved that she was “a normal girl, even a trendy girl in the eyes of others. All the wigs brought something out in me.”

Sophie named her first wig “Stella.” This was what she called the “necessary” wig. Her hair quite literally fell out overnight, and Stella was the wig she thought she needed because it was similar in color and style to her regular hair.

At the time, she wanted to “hide her story.” She liked feeling that people believed she was healthy and feminine, which led her to experiment with different wigs throughout her 14 months of chemotherapy.

After Stella-the-necessary wig came:

  • Sue: a short red wig with bangs and an attitude that told people not to mess with her
  • Blondie: a short blond bob that was simple and sensible
  • Daisy: Daisy “got a lot of attention.” This wig was long, blonde, curly, and super feminine.
  • Lydia: warm, brown wig with a 60s inspired style.
  • This was given to Sophie by her godmother Bebe. Sophie described this wig’s personality as “Stunning.”
  • Bebe: exotic, sexy, long blonde wig. Sophie selected, named, and wore this wig in tribute to the real-life Bebe. Sophie purchased this wig after a break-up and her desire to feel unrecognizable for a while.
  • Platina: a shiny white bob and clearly a “party wig.”
  • Uma: a brown wig with fringe bangs. She was inspired by Uma Thurman’s character in Pulp fiction and was “very sensual.”
  • Pam: this was a natural-looking blonde girl-next-door wig that reminded everyone of “the Rachel” haircut from Friends.

Sophie is cancer-free and frequently speaks about her battle with cancer, offering advice on coping when asked. Her advice is to find something, anything, that can provide “a safe haven that has nothing to do with the ugly reality of cancer, where you can escape to.” Such an escape can take different shapes for different people. It might be reading, going to the beach, painting, writing, or baking.

For Sophie, her wigs are what gave her the escape and feeling of safety she needed.

For Your Hair Replacement Needs, Call Riviera Today

If you are experiencing hair loss from chemotherapy, schedule your free consultation with Riviera Hair Replacement today. We have been helping clients find hair replacement solutions to suit all of their needs. Whether you want to “look like yourself” or try something new, we have plenty of options. Let Riviera Hair Replacement design and create a hair replacement solution tailored to your needs. We know you will leave here looking and feeling your best!

Call 516-364-0110 or 800-772-1523 for a free consultation with Riviera Hair Replacement.