A Touch of Glamour
Women with cancer no longer have to travel outside Solano County to receive a free hat, scarf or wig.
Thanks to a partnership between NorthBay Healthcare and the American Cancer Society, they can visit the “Glamour Room” at the Gateway Medical Building in Fairfield.
The room started as an idea of former NorthBay Healthcare employee Janet Black shortly after a fire in January 2012 destroyed the wig room and office building of the Fairfield American Cancer Society. The idea was picked up by the NorthBay Cancer Center team of Magi Philpot, licensed clinical social worker and Bea Castro, oncology administrative supervisor.
With a big assist from NorthBay’s Property Manager Kay Draisin and Facilities Planning Manager Carmen Perry, and local designer Donna Lucchio of AIM Consulting, the room on the first floor of the Gateway building began to take shape.
“It had to be purple,’ explains Magi, “because purple is the color for cancer survivors. It’s also gorgeous and dignified.”
And so, the room is two-tone, painted with an eggshell white and purple, and is adorned with a purple settee and ribbon. A salon chair and station, and a salon store drawer round out the former office.
Even the lighting on the walls adds an elegance.
“And we managed it on a shoestring,” says a proud Kay. “We repurposed the wall sconces, which came from the second floor of the VacaValley Health Plaza, when we redesigned it for the fourth Center for Primary care.” Even the overhead lighting is special, not your standard 2 x 4 drop-in. And the carpeting – a sample from a vendor who didn’t need it returned.
Funds raised by a “Virtual Tea” hosted by the Soroptimist International of Central Solano last April, were used to purchase the settee, the salon equipment, as well as new scarves, hats and wigs. A portrait of Marilyn Monroe on the wall was one of the finishing touches, says Magi.
“We did a lot of online researching, trying to create a 1930s vibe,” says Donna. “There was a lot of love and donated labor that went into this room.”
On Monday, Dec. 17, the room was christened with an official ribbon cutting, with Soroptimist Stephanie Beardsley doing the honors. Watching in appreciation were American Cancer Society representatives Stellie Kim, the community mission director and Ali Seidman, director of health and corporation initiatives.
NorthBay Healthcare Cancer Center patient Margarita Lopez was invited to be the first patient to come in and try it out. Slipping off her wig, she joyfully tried on some long blonde tresses, as well as a short-cropped red-haired number.
A stage four breast cancer patient who is undergoing chemotherapy, she sparkled in the spotlight, trying on different wigs before the crowd.
Numerous donations were collected by Lynne DiModica of the NorthBay Center for Women’s Health and local fire departments during the summer. Those items have just been sent off for cleaning and soon will be made available at the Glamour Room.
Stellie plans to staff the room on Tuesdays and Thursdays, by appointment. She said that while no used clothing or used wig donations are needed at the moment, new items and cash donations are always welcome.
Checks should be made out to NorthBay Healthcare Foundation, with Cancer Center Glamour Room in the memo field. Stellie said volunteers are also welcome.
“We can train people to work with cancer patients, and they can help us staff the room for more hours.”
For more information or to set up an appointment, call (415) 454-8464 or 1-800-227-2345.