They call her the wig whisperer. Her name is Lori Woods, and she’s the administrative coordinator at the M. Krista Loyd Resource Center. Cancer patients know first-hand about Lori’s talent in selecting just the right wig for them. “Image is critical for most women. Even if we have bad hair, we want our hair,” Lori said. “When I get them back in the wig room and they’ve been crying, depressed over losing their hair, and I put them in a wig, they quit crying and start smiling.”
Located on the first floor of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center at UofL Health, the M. Krista Loyd Resource Center provides patients with scarves, wigs, bed wedges, camisoles and nylon fanny packs to hold drain tubes and reservoirs for breast cancer patients, free of charge, along with art therapy, massage therapy, reiki therapy, acupressure therapy and nutrition classes, as well as transportation assistance for eligible patients. The Brown Cancer Center has 13 multidisciplinary cancer clinics for adults, including the Breast Cancer Clinic, Gynecologic Oncology and Lung Cancer Clinic, among others.
Raymond and the late Eleanor Loyd donated the money to create the M. Krista Loyd Resource Center in 2010, naming it after their daughter who passed away from ovarian cancer in December 2007. “He is generously still giving,” Lori said.
If the Resource Center didn’t exist, patients at the Brown Cancer Center would have to go to different stores for these comfort items and therapies, which would cost money. Providing items at no charge relieves that burden. “Reducing stress is vital to healing,” Lori said. “Everything we offer is also available for caregivers too. We feel here that the caregivers are a vital part of our cancer patients’ healing. They need some TLC too.”
Lori honors a doctor’s prescription stating the patient is going to lose her hair due to chemo. Brown Center cancer patients receive two scarves for the spring and summer season and two scarves in fall for the colder months. Made from companies that cater to cancer patients, the scarves are easy to put on (like a hat) and don’t require tying. Some are lacy, many are silky and all are very pretty. The Resource Center keeps 200 wigs and 250 scarves in stock. In an average month, Lori will fit 25-30 patients with wigs and provide 50-60 scarves. The brand-new synthetic wigs range from short pixie to middle of the back in length and in all shades of blond, brunette, red and gray. Ballcaps, du-rags and toboggans are available for men. For knitters and crocheters who make caps, Lori keeps a big basket of them out front for any patient to grab and go, if they’d like.
One of Lori’s tips to make sure wigs don't look like a wig is to go a shade lighter or darker, or a little shorter or longer than what you had. And the most rewarding part of her job is seeing someone smile. “I love when they say ‘I feel like me again,’” Lori said.
Interested in donating? “That would be wonderful,” Lori said. You can specify what type of item you would like your contribution to go toward, or items for comfort in general. Visit uoflbrowncancercenter.org/ways-support#fund-krista-loyd-resourcecenter