Wow, what an amazing day we had in the salon yesterday!
Let me run you through what has been the biggest campaign we’ve been involved into date…
So, a few months back the @thewonderfulwigcompany was approached by @cancerresearchuk as they had heard what we do here, and they asked us if we would like to be part of their @standuptocancerUK campaign!
We were gobsmacked but thrilled; such an amazing charity wanting to work with us and of course, we said yes immediately!
This year’s stand up to cancer campaign runs in October, and Cancer Research wanted us to take some footage of the work we do in helping people undergoing cancer treatment with their well-being.
So, for the last few months, we’ve been busy behind the scenes preparing and planning out the event.
All this year, we have been playing with designing and making our own range of wigs. A wig that ticked all our boxes, so we thought this shoot would be a great time to launch them.
We decided to go bold and produce a bespoke wig for each of our models. One of our models Ashlea @threekidsandcounting is quite funky and had always been adventurous with her hair colour, so we decided to make her an orange wig to fit in with the #standuptocancercampaign
Our second model Molly @molly.richardson.3701 is in treatment for leukaemia and we have previously fitted Molly with a peach wig, as she too likes to experiment, so for Molly, we made a long girly balayage effect wig.
I’ve been looking so long for the ultimate balayage wigs, and once again, could not find everything I wanted and decided to design and make this one from scratch too.
So, yesterday after a super late week (working all weekend Saturday and Sunday too to make sure they were perfect!), we opened our doors to the Cancer Research team.
We were thrilled to collaborate on this amazing project with Melissa Wharton @melissawhartonmakeup. I’ve been a fan of Melissa’s work for a long time, she is self-taught (I always thought you can’t train creativity!) and so I admire her work even more! She has an enormous following on her Instagram page because she is so talented and a down to earth good girl. Her laugh was all we could hear in the morning! She is a Sunderland girl who lost her dad to cancer and so she too was really keen to get on board.
We spent the morning dressing the wigs, listening to Lisa from Cancer Research about the campaign and what they did – it’s amazing how much money they raise each year through the Stand Up 2 Cancer campaign, but also frightening to hear how much drug research truly costs!
It was particularly humbling to find out that the very same drug I take, and Karen takes every day, to stop our cancer returning or growing was funded and brought about by the work that Cancer Research does – I had a moment of “I am actually stood here now because of this charity…quite overwhelming!
We then got the chance to hear our models stories, I had chosen my models because I already knew them and I had initially helped each of the girls through their hair loss. I already had a nice connection with them, and they both touched my heart in different ways.
My first model was Ashlea Anderson, a Sunderland girl in the middle of treatment for breast cancer. Ashlea has three young children and is writing a blog (https://threekidsandcountingblog.wordpress.com/) about her cancer journey, which I follow. She is a total babe, brutally honest, passionate and she makes me laugh. We clicked straight away and I immediately thought of her for this shoot, as she’s up for anything that promotes awareness and positivity…she’s also had a super crappy week, as she found out she is carrying the BRCA 1 gene, which means her treatment will be longer now and more invasive.
My second model was Molly Richardson. I met Molly quite sometime after her leukemia diagnosis at just 16. Molly has been through a truly awful two years of treatment and is still coping with life-changing side effects. I chose Molly because of her utter resilience and determination to not be beaten. She has just gone back to college last week, two years later now than her school friends, and her hair is just growing in now, so I wanted to make her feel super girly and celebrate with her how far she had come. She had a date night after the shoot, so we designed her a wig that was long, soft curls with very age-appropriate trendy balayage look.
So, Melissa painted the girls up, laughing and carrying on with them, her work is so good. Whilst we dressed and prepped the wigs, (I was so nervous about the wigs but as soon as I showed them to the girls, they loved them and we were so happy with the outcome) we talked to Cancer Research about the significance of the hair loss for women, especially women at school and college who need to fit in with their peers, just like Molly or like Ashlea with having a young family, looking normal and feeling comfortable in your new hair is vital for your wellbeing through cancer and we are so passionate to get this message across in the work we do across our community every day .
We styled the wigs in lots of different ways and even pinned one of our new designs up, showing everyone this can be done in a wig( one that we have made that is !)
We talked to Cancer Research all about our mission and what we want to do for people losing their hair.
Once the girls were ready, we piled in the cars and headed down to @LisaMccormickPhotography studio in Sunderland.
I have known Lisa for years (another self-taught genius of her trade!) and she is now internationally regarded as one of the country’s best outdoor photographers. She works especially with children, so if you have kids, you need to check out her work: https://lisamccormickphotography.co.uk
I also know Lisa’s family, and last year, Lisa lost her beautiful Mum to cancer. I had helped her through her hair loss too, and so Lisa was also really keen to be part of this amazing day.
Lisa photographed the girls, with and without their hair, and made them feel so at ease…but either way, the girls looked so beautiful! They enjoyed dressing up and having a pamper…by the end of the day, you would’ve thought that we’d all known each other for years. Ashlea’s legs were killing from her chemo and Molly’s jaw was killing from smiling, and my little team hadn’t slept in days prepping ! so we called it a wrap.
Molly loved her hair so much she wouldn’t take it off and Ash is now considering a ginger wig for her next one!
All in all, we had the most amazing experience, I’m so proud and pleased to have taken part.
You will be able to see the official footage in October on Cancer research’s channels and across the press but for now, stay tuned to our social channels for more content.