Insights in health & wellness branding


Wigging Out? Not with So Many People by My Side

21 June 2019   |   Tracy Cunningham

Just about everyone who knows me knows that I’m a cancer survivor. Most are also aware that I’m creating a foundation called Wig and a Prayer to provide high-quality wigs to area women who’ve lost their hair as a side effect of chemo treatment. What many may not know is just how much help I’ve received at every stage of my journey and how the kindness and generosity of others continues to inspire and move me forward, especially with the foundation’s launch fast approaching.

Why wigs? Losing my hair was devastating. My long red hair had always been one of my best features, and its loss left me feeling more vulnerable than I could ever have imagined. I remember the hope I felt when told there was a program that could provide me with a wig. And I remember my disappointment when directed to a pile of unattractive, generic wigs. None looked realistic enough to let me pass for “normal” as I went about my daily life. And the presentation, as if the wigs were an afterthought, made me feel like no one understood how deeply my baldness was affecting my spirit.

But a lot of people came to my aid. My husband and his colleagues, family and friends, and 22 couples from my parents’ church in Rochester, Michigan, raised the money to buy me a top-quality wig that could be customized by fit, color, cut and style to look like my own hair. Wearing it made me feel strong and hopeful. Commuting to work, I scanned the faces on the train to see how people reacted when they looked my way. Nothing but a friendly smile or two – no pity, no aversion, no darting glances at my head. That may have been the moment the idea for Wig and a Prayer was born, when I was feeling the full power of looking my best and deep gratitude to those who made it possible.

So now I’m preparing to give back in a very personal way. Wig and A Prayer will provide financial assistance and work with a variety of organizations and specialty hair salons to help women who’ve lost their hair receive a quality wig as well as an expert fitting, cut and styling. I want each woman to feel the same optimism and sense of being valued that I felt the day I received my wig.

Many people, including my co-workers at AbelsonTaylor, are helping me make the foundation a reality. In April, the agency staged a 25-person hackathon to map out key creative elements for the launch, including a logo and color palette, website, brochure and video. The group worked late into the evening, expanding the conversation into broader areas and making Wig and a Prayer seem suddenly very real.

Two months later, with agency-wide help from an extraordinary group of colleagues, we’re now finalizing art, editing video footage, completing the website, and nearing the finish line. I’m aiming to launch the foundation by year-end and would never be this far along (or this calm) without the help of my work family.

Thank you to every single person who has stood by me, supported my mission, and invested your own time and effort in making my dream come to life. Every time Wig and a Prayer helps a woman who’s battling cancer look in the mirror and feel brave and confident, know that you played a role in making that possible.

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Head shot of post author Tracy Cunningham

About the Author

Tracy Cunningham, vice president, account director, has worked at AbelsonTaylor for 22 years. She has been married to her husband, Scott, for more than 15 years and has two young boys. In May 2005, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. In December 2006, after chemotherapy, surgery, radiation and trastuzumab, she was declared cancer-free. She has never forgotten how much other people helped her in her journey and will be fulfilling a long-time dream when Wig and a Prayer is formally established.