When Dana McSwain lost her hair due to chemotherapy treatments, she thought she’d never look or feel like herself again. Thanks to some generous friends and strangers, however, she now has a custom wig that fits her perfectly.
In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, McSwain, 36, was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer that had spread to her lymph nodes, and she also learned that she had the BRCA2 gene mutation, which means that she is at increased risk for other types of cancer. With no known family history, the Charlotte, North Carolina, mom was shocked.
She began chemotherapy soon after her diagnosis. When her long hair began to come out in handfuls, she decided to shave her head. She looked for a wig but was frustrated with the selection, finding many wigs to be too expensive and not quite “her.”
“Finding a wig is an extremely hard process, especially not knowing where to begin because this has not been anything that I ever thought that I’d go through,” McSwain told “Good Morning America.” “Every wig I put on I couldn’t get it off fast enough. I thought, ‘This is not me. This doesn’t work.'”
At that point, she turned to a local moms’ Facebook group for advice and support. Carol Daley Cook, whose daughter goes to the same school as McSwain’s, saw the post and was motivated to lend a helping hand.
In addition to donating her own hair, Daley Cook recruited hair donations from five of McSwain’s friends and one 7-year-old girl. With the help of more donations, Daley Cook then used the hair to get a custom-made halo wig created for McSwain. She personally dropped it off at her house just a week later.
The heartwarming moment when McSwain opened her gift was captured on video and uploaded to YouTube:
“Just putting this on and looking in the camera I just feel this overwhelming sense of like … me,” McSwain told WCNC. “Just knowing that each strand is special from somebody in my life and it’s something that I will have forever.”
What a moving story! Kudos to Daley Cook and everyone else who donated to make this amazing gift possible.