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STRANDS OF STRENGTH: Local Organization Helps Cancer Patients

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Mindy Schmitt is used to a wide variety of clientele, most of whom she gets pretty close to.

“As a stylist, we see it. We communicate with our clients they tell us what they are going through,” said Mindy Schmitt, owner and stylist at Moda in West Des Moines.

And when you're close to someone, as Schmitt pointed out, seeing them fight a battle like cancer can be life changing. “It’s hard for the stylists too. I can’t imagine because I’ve never gone through it but it would be the hardest thing I think to lose your hair.”

When Mindy received a flyer in the mail for “Strands of Strength,” it caught her attention. She said her favorite part was that it was a local community based organization. Strands of Strength teams up with local hospitals to connect with the patient. The organization then teams up with salons like Moda to give the patients a high quality wig, free of charge. On top of it, the wig is then styled for the patient.

“I had one that came in not took long ago who said all I’m going to look at is scarves, because I can’t afford a wig and I said let’s just take a look at this. Let’s try some wigs on and see,” Jack Morland, a Board Member of Strands of Strength shared, “and I put on one and she said ‘this looks just like my hair did!’ and I said you're going to get this one today.” Morland said the woman didn’t understand at first, but then he explained, “Because we have a foundation that we are building in a community to do this sort of thing for women who can’t afford that.”

“When she left she was crying she was very happy and very thankful, and that`s what it’s all about. Allowing those people to have an opportunity to feel normal,” finished Deb Pulver.

Deb Pulver knows what she is talking about- Not just because she is the founder of Strands of Strength, but because she's been there herself.

“I’m an 9 year breast cancer survivor and I know what it’s like to not have hair and have to go through chemo therapy and I decided it would be great if we could disguise the effects of chemo and radiation,” said Pulver, “It’s just one of those situations where you don`t want people saying oh, she must have cancer she doesn`t have any hair, oh feel so sorry for her, but really what you need is encouragement and positive reinforcement and you want to fight and best the disease, so every positive attitude and every positive statement just really helps.”

This month is Salon Month for Strands of Strength. Close to 40 Central Iowa salons are collecting donations and donating some of their proceeds to the cause.

For more information, or how you can get involved, go to