WJSU-FM is sponsoring The Beauty of Cancer Wig Project on Thursday to pamper all women with makeovers – those who are healthy or battling cancer – and offer free wigs to survivors.
New or gently used wigs will be distributed during the Reveal and Presentation Party at 6 p.m. in the Amour, 1100 John R. Lynch Street, across the street from the Jackson State University Student Center.
The event, co-sponsored by JSU Cares, is the brainchild of WJSU general manager Gina Carter-Simmers. She’s also a breast cancer survivor. Due to recent surgery related to her illness, Carter-Simmers won’t be able to attend. However, she explains the purpose of her fight to help other survivors.
“I was diagnosed with breast cancer in August 2016. It was then that my surgeon declared me an official awareness advocate,” Carter-Simmers explained, noting that one in eight women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with breast cancer during her lifetime.
“When a person gets the disease that’s usually their low. At that time, I couldn’t receive it. It wasn’t until I started receiving chemo that I really tried to see how I could take on this role, do my job, support the community and get other JSU constituents to buy in. And, thus, the ‘Beauty of Cancer’ photography exhibit was born,” Carter-Simmers said.
However, she didn’t want the photography showcase in October to be viewed as a ritzy event simply because it was held at the Mississippi Museum of Art. Then, she began thinking about adding a different component to give her advocacy “a community side, a softer side.”
Carter-Simmers added, “Even though the photography exhibit said it all about community and community support my question was ‘how do I make it feel right?’ ” Later, an idea emerged about using proceeds from the silent auction at the museum event to purchase wigs for uninsured women fighting against any type of cancer.
“When our hair falls out – no matter if you have colon cancer or breast cancer – it’s still the same. It’s like you’ve lost something that has been part of you for as long as you are old,” she said.
“Because wigs are expensive, I invited women just like me who are breast cancer survivors to donate them to the American Cancer Society.” Earlier, about 50 wigs were collected. “That’s pretty amazing,” Carter-Simmers said.
“So, if you don’t have insurance you’ll be able to go to the American Cancer Society and get either new or gently used wigs.” She also commended the Magnolia School of Cosmetology for refurbishing rarely worn wigs and thanked local stylists for making their own creations. “This is something that the Jackson State community really can be proud of and become involved with. At the event, we also will be spoiling women with free makeovers.”
Carter-Simmers said some women recently RSVP’d for the event only after being diagnosed with breast cancer.
“That’s how formidable breast cancer is. He finds you. Nevertheless, it’s going to be a fun night of pampering, giveaways and connecting with other women,” she added. “We’re also asking all women to wear their fun wigs. We will be giving out prizes for the best wigs. So, if you’ve got a Diana Ross wig, be the boss that night. If you’re channeling your ‘Chaka Khan, Chaka Khan’ spirit, bring her on that night, too.”
The only regret for Carter-Simmers is that she won’t be able to attend as she recovers from recent surgery.
“Still, I’m excited for the women who will enjoy this, and I hope my presence is felt for this project.”