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Stare-stopping wigs

Chemo patients have an easier time living in a society that is less-than-kind to the hairless with the help of a boutique wig salon.

November 05, 2007|By Kelly Strodl

Two weeks ago Kimberly Stotmore found herself accosted for her shaved head. A man grabbed Stotmore as she walked to her car in the parking lot of Santa Ana College and accused the mother of two of being a skinhead.

Stotmore, also an 18-year nurse, tried to explain that her lack of hair was merely the result of chemo treatments she recently completed while combating breast cancer.

“He didn’t believe I had cancer, he didn’t want to believe me,” Stotmore said. Though she left the situation physically unharmed, the altercation emotionally scarred her, she said.

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“I guess I was just naive to the fact that something like that would actually happen,” Stotmore said, adding that the event fills her with uncertainty every time she steps on campus.

Stotmore was taken aback when Constance Walsh, owner of Wiggin’ Out in Newport Beach offered to give her a $1,500 wig free of charge.

“It’s amazing how much better it feels to have hair on my head,” Stotmore said, glimpsing at herself in a mirror with long brunet locks resting on her shoulders.

Stotmore’s entire body seemed to open up with the new hairpiece. The smile on her face grew as she ran her fingers through the hair.

“Once you’ve been in the treatment for a while, everyone on chemo starts to look the same,” Stotmore said. “And then you put on a wig that doesn’t even look like real hair it brings you down.”

Stotmore was diagnosed with breast cancer just after her birthday in February. Also a competition body builder and fitness model, and working on a graduate degree to become a nurse practitioner, the news blew her away.

“I remember thinking around my birthday, 37, this is going to be my year,’” Stotmore said. “Then about a month later I found out I had cancer.”

Surviving a double mastectomy, chemo treatments, and the ensuing infections following chemo should have been enough for a single mother to take. But it was the treatment received from her peers though that really razed Stotmore.

“I get a lot of stares everyday,” Stotmore said. “It’s amazing how I’ve learned the cruelty of adults, just the ignorance of people.

“A lot of crazy things have happened since I’ve been bald. I would get stares at school. At first I didn’t know what to think. I don’t have tattoos all over my head.”

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