A legacy of compassion – Gail Avis


My name is Gail Avis I have been
volunteering at the wig library for 24 years. Someone has just been told they
have cancer and they’re going to lose their hair but nobody tells them how
it’s going to happen so we do all of that sort of thing. We’re not qualified
counselors but we’ve got common sense with library itself here has been going
since 1973 and it’s always been run by volunteers every day is different when
you come here we walk out the door at the end of the day and feel well we’ve
helped somebody in some way to feel better about themselves because
everything with a cancer diagnosis is pretty devastating but the ones that
upset us the most are the young mothers who put off their treatment until
they’ve had their babies and then they come in and with the tiny baby and they
have to have their head shaved that’s something you don’t forget. There’s a lot
of people who could not work in a wig library it’s no good if you’re going to
cry every time somebody else cries so we’ll give them a hug and and a tissue
and let them cry and give them a drink of water and then we put some silly wig on
them that makes them look ridiculous and they laugh and that’s when we start
doing all the other things. If you’re a woman if your hair looks bad you feel
awful. Now if somebody tells you suddenly you’re not going to have any hair how do
you cope with that so you come in here and we give you all
the different ways to cope with it. Each time I come here well maybe I’ve helped
one person and maybe it’s four who knows we’re not here to make money we’re here
to help and that’s what it’s all about there’s always someone worse off than
you are, go out and find them and help them. Volunteering does make me feel good.

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