COOKEVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A Cookeville business recently became the official partner with the American Cancer Society to provide free wigs for cancer patients.
Suzi Q's Scrubs & a Whole Lot More sits right across the street from Cookeville Regional Medical Center. Just as the name lends, there's more inside the store than meets the eye.
"When they walked through the doors, I wanted them to feel like they were in a salon and we were going to treat them like a queen," Suzi Q's owner Susie Dobbs said.
Dobbs is also a radiation therapist who jumped on the opportunity to become the area's free wig salon last October. A quality wig can run as much as $1,000.
"Getting just the diagnosis of cancer is stressful enough, but then them telling you that you're going to be losing your hair is even more stressful," breast cancer patient Karen Harris said.
Harris was diagnosed with breast cancer in September and heard about Suzi Q's free wig program. Working with the store manager, Regina Groce, a breast cancer survivor herself, made a tough experience that much easier.
"We tried on wigs to see what looked good and see what didn’t," Harris said. "It was really, really nice to have all of that attention and be helped as much as they did."
Because of Harris, Suzi Q's is now partnered with her work, Mister Wayne’s Beauty and Barber School. Now, anyone who gets a free wig can also get it cut and styled at no cost.
"In a way, I knew it was important, but in a way, I didn’t realize how much of a significant difference it was going to make for these women," Dobbs said.
So far, Suzi Q's has provided 30 wigs for patients, but Dobbs wants to take it one step further. She's working to launch I Am Beautiful to teach cancer patients how to do make-up and dress for their changing bodies.
"We want to remind them that that beauty is still in there and we’re going to find it because you’re beautiful no matter what," Dobbs said. "Whether you have hair, whether don’t have hair, whether you don’t exactly look like you did before, you’re beautiful."
The program will initially be geared towards cancer patients, but eventually Dobbs would like to expand it to include abuse survivors and women battling depression. She wants the program to provide a community of women to support each other.
"The best thing about classes like this is you get to share that with other people going through the same thing. You become friends with someone that you can share this fight," Dobbs said. "You now are not fighting alone."
They're looking to partner with anyone who's willing to help, as well as taking donations on their I Am Beautiful GoFundMe page to make it happen.
Harris only has a few more chemo sessions left in her treatment.
"I’m doing very, very well," Harris said. "I'm very blessed."
For Nashville cancer patients, free wigs are available at the American Cancer Society office on Charlotte Avenue. They also provided 1,049 Upper Cumberland patients who receive treatment in Nashville a place to stay at the Hope Lodge in 2019. If you're a cancer patient who needs assistance, visit the American Cancer Society.