Five years ago, a client at Salon Ten 17 was having her hair done. Her name was Gladys and she was a volunteer at Cancer Navigators. She happened to ask the salon’s owner, Cindy Stansell, if she and the other stylists might help organize the wig room at Cancer Navigators.

That simple request has led to an annual drive the salon’s employees undertake to bring a little confidence and a little hope back into the lives of local cancer patients.

“That was the start of it,” Stansell said. “We went over there that first year and helped them clean the wigs and organize them. And we all realized that there was such a need for more and better wigs so that’s when we decided to do something about it.”

Many women who use the services offered by Cancer Navigators have lost or are losing their hair because of the treatments they’re undergoing. Some find the process more difficult than others. Some wear hats or scarves to cover their heads but many prefer to wear wigs.

“But wigs are really expensive,” Stansell said. “A lot of these women have lost their own beautiful hair and you really want a good quality wig until it grows back.”

So each year the employees at Salon Ten 17 raise money to buy wigs to donate to Cancer Navigators.

In years past they’ve bought an item to be raffled off and sell raffle tickets. All the money raised is used to purchase quality wigs.

But this year instead of spending money on a raffle item, they’ve decided to simply hold a 50/50 Raffle. Tickets are $5 each or 5 for $20. The winner will be drawn on live video on Facebook on Nov. 1 and that person will receive half of the ticket sales while the other half goes toward the purchase of wigs.

Traci Ball, one of seven stylists at the salon, said up until now she and her coworkers have always gone to Cancer Navigators to donate the wigs but have never seen the recipients.

“But one of our clients, Julie Bishop, was recently diagnosed with breast cancer,” Ball said. “She’s been a client here for 17 years and she was diagnosed last year. She’s a teacher. She said she has finished chemo and is cancer free although she still has a few radiation treatments.”

Ball said Bishop is the recipient of one of the wigs, making it that much more special to know they’re helping women throughout the community feel better about themselves despite their immense struggle with the disease.

Because of the high cost of quality wigs, the most the salon has been able to purchase with funds raised at any one time is 18.

“But our goal this year is to buy at least 20,” Stansell said. “A good quality wig can be $200 or more. Younger and younger women are getting cancer and losing their hair so we want quality wigs with colors and styles that all women can feel beautiful in.”

While a wig may seem like a trivial thing to some, for many women undergoing cancer treatments and losing their hair, that can be a painful and traumatic experience.

Sarah Husser, fundraising and community outreach coordinator for Cancer Navigators said she can see a visible change in the women who come to try on the wigs.

“It’s so fun and gratifying to see them try on the different ones,” Husser said. “You can immediately see them become happier. You can see the joy. Some of them bring friends and family with them to help them pick out the right one. It’s a very sweet experience to see that.”

Husser said the number and quality of wigs available at Cancer Navigators fluctuate depending on donations and need. Donations like those from Salon Ten 17 are always appreciated, she said.

Throughout October raffle tickets will be sold at Salon Ten 17 located at 5 John Davenport Drive. But there’s also a way to simply donate money online at - donations of all amounts are appreciated.

Stansell said she would love for local businesses to partner with them to donate items to add to the raffle.

“And we’d love to get other salons involved,” she said. “I am happy to bring tickets to salons for them to sell to their clients. Or if you have wigs that you’d like to donate, please feel free to do so. We will clean them and get them ready to be used by someone who needs them.”

For more information about the fundraiser or to buy tickets, donate cash, items or wigs, call the salon at 706-235-9792.