By Priscilla Liguori 10-09-2014
A Back Bay hair salon does not stop at just making community members’ hair look good. The fun and fashionable Salon at 10 Newbury has its own organization that enables people experiencing hair loss to continue their lifestyles with confidence.
Wigs for Well-Being is a non-profit organization at the salon that gives people without insurance or funds their own wigs and hair pieces free of charge. Organization founder and salon owner Patricia Wrixon works with patients individually and helps them find pieces best for them. The salon staff is comprised of members dedicated to helping patients regain their self-esteem.
“We fund this organization through donations,” Wrixon says. “People are very generous to this cause.”
Patients of all ages, including children, come from throughout New England for this organization’s services. Wigs for Well-Being understands the time sensitivity of hair loss and is able to accommodate people within days.
People can acquire ready-made wigs in the most contemporary styles or can design their own customary wigs; all options are luxurious and natural looking. Consultations and fittings all occur in comfortable, private rooms in the back of the salon.
A person who acquires a wig or a hair piece is encouraged to come back multiple times for adjustments to ensure their piece fits well, matches their hair, and suits their preferences. Employees can alter the style, color, texture, and volume of each wig and hair piece. Each patient gets taught how to wash and care for their pieces.
Among the family of big-hearted salon employees is Hair Stylist Agi Kovacs. She was a hairdresser for 37 years when she started looking for a change in her career. After losing her own hair from treatment, she became interested in working with wigs. Wrixon hired and mentored her, and she is now giving back to people in the same way others inspired her.
“I just enjoy meeting people and trying to make them feel better about themselves,” Kovacs says.
Hair stylist Lindsay McEnvoy appreciates the heartwarming trend she notices among patients. “Women depend on hair to make them feel feminine and beautiful, but after they lose their hair, this other kind of personality comes out and really shines. Being able to see that transformation is such a positive thing. How beautiful they are from the inside just comes out.”
Employees say they are humbled daily by the work they do.
“Every day I am inspired by how strong patients are,” Wrixon says.
Wigs for Well-Being employees’ passion to help extends beyond the workplace. Stylists volunteer at Boston Children’s Hospital in the oncology department each Monday. They give haircuts to children as well as members of children’s families who are in need of personal time. They also provide wigs and hair pieces for children. Most recently, Wigs for Well-Being has been giving away baseball caps that have pictures of the Disney movie “Frozen” characters Elsa and Ana on them; each cap has long braids attached.
The Boston Children’s Hospital acknowledges Wigs for Well-Being as one of their wig and hair piece providers for children and teenagers experiencing medical treatments at the hospital.
Some Wigs for Well-Being patients have the intent to transition through their hair loss without anyone knowing, and some will openly share with others what they are experiencing; either way, employees are supportive and focused on helping patients achieve their goals.
“We create and give back the normalcy in their lives,” Wrixon explains about her patients.
Wigs for Well-Being employees encourage those interested and ready to acquire a wig or hair piece to book a consultation. They understand that the process is sensitive and are patient with people through every step of the way.
Wrixon, who has been in the hair industry for 45 years, started working with wigs after a friend of hers was diagnosed with cancer many years ago. She talked to an oncologist at the University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center who made her realize that hair replacement options were sparse and needed. That is when she opened the Salon at 10 Newbury which eventually began Wigs for Well-Being.
“We were servicing all of these patients and women who have hair loss, but we really wanted to make sure we could accommodate people who had no insurance or funds,” Wrixon explains. “We felt really strongly about this so we founded Wigs for Well-Being.”
People with insurance and funds can buy wigs and hair pieces from the Salon at 10 Newbury. The salon sponsors events for cancer research and support, such as “Young and Strong Celebration” which will be October 17 at the Boston Harbor Hotel.
In 2012, Massachusetts General Hospital named the Salon at 10 Newbury an honoree of “the one hundred.” “The one hundred” is an event that celebrates individuals and groups who help fight cancer.
To donate or book a consultation with Wigs for Well-Being, call 617-247-4900.