When Natasha Verma was in the thick of her fight with stage 2 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, she began to notice changes in her image. As her eyelashes, eyebrows, and hair began to disappear, she became desperate for a solution to help her feel like her strong, beautiful self through her battle. For Natasha, that started with finding a good wig. Yet the solution wasn’t as easy as she thought. “I couldn’t find a wig that I liked, and they’re expensive. They can be itchy and stuffy, or the hairline doesn’t look right. A real hair, nice wig, costs thousands of dollars.” Natasha turned to a synthetic wig that was a bit more reasonable, but noticed quickly if she applied any heat or got it wet, it was ruined. – which meant no styling or washing, and that definitely did not feel like the sense of normalcy she had been hoping to achieve. What she did find worked was putting a baseball cap on top of her wig. With the hairline hidden, she thought: why don’t we start making these? That’s when the Verma Foundation was born.
The Verma Foundation provides real hair cap wigs to cancer patients at no cost that are soft and comfortable while also manageable enough to be styled and washed. Launched in 2017, the family-lead foundation managed by Natasha’s brother, sister, and parents has provided close to 900 cap wigs to survivors nationwide thanks to donations from sponsors. Working as a family, Natasha says, is critical. “Cancer is a family affair. When one person fights, we all fight and it affected all of us – my family saw the impacts of hair loss and it’s devastating.”
“We’re still operating during the pandemic because a lot of patients don’t have resources to get wigs, and they’re losing their hair. Cancer doesn’t stop because of this pandemic, and women still need a resource.” From the time the pandemic started up until now, between 70-80 cap wigs have been donated by the Foundation.
One of those recipients of a custom-made wine colored velvet cap wig is a woman named Aurora, whose story touched Natasha. “Aurora reached out to me wanting a cap wig. I was on the phone with her talking to her and she was-much like I once was-really scared and just very unsure of what chemo held; what her future held.” These are the Verma Foundation founder remembered all too well. “I said, ‘This cap wig is going to help you on those tough days and then your hair is going to grow back, and it’s just going to be a beautiful reminder of everything you went through and how tough you are.'”
Aurora’s response that came next reminded Natasha of why the Verma Foundation is staying strong through this pandemic. “She said she ‘has arrived’ when she put the wig on,” smiled Natasha as she told the story. “It reminded her of who she was and I think that’s something that a lot of cancer patients like myself struggled with. You feel like sometimes cancer rips away your identity when you lose your hair.”
How can you help give someone that “I have arrived!” feeling? By making a donation to VermaFoundation.org, you are doing exactly that. Now more than ever these donations are critical, two of their largest fundraisers of the year held in Boston & Texas have just announced their cancellations due to the global pandemic. “We need the help now,” says Natasha. “There’s nothing normal about cancer. Your whole life turns upside down and your whole schedule and your life is revolved around fighting for your life. The cap wig brings back that sense of normalcy, and confidence. When you give a woman a cap wig you are giving her hope ,strength, confidence, and the power to lift up her head, and keep fighting.”