YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A cancer wellness organization in Youngstown received a $7,500 grant Saturday.
Yellow Brick Place received the grant from the Arnett Family, Kennedy Family and First Place Community funds held at the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley.
“We know what it feels like to be going on the journey, and we know what we felt when we went through it, so we want to be there to help,” said Carol Apinis, President of the Board.
The grant will further expand programming at Yellow Brick Place, which offers no-cost wigs and accessories along with educational sessions with Valley experts on proper use and wear.
Yellow Brick Place was founded in 2015 by two cancer survivors, Donne Detweiler and Anna Aey, with a vision to support and educate cancer patients and those closest to them by providing individual and group services that nourish and comfort the mind, body and spirit during the fight against cancer.
“Our mission remains rooted in caring for people with a cancer diagnosis, with non-medical services such as the Your Beauty Program and our wig bank,” said Apinis. “These dollars are critical as many organizations have divested similar programs. Our clients continue to fight cancer with courage, and we are grateful to be part of that journey along with the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley.”
After receiving the grant, Apinis says they were able to boost their wig bank.
“For us to be able to have a woman come in and give them a wig that suits their preference, it makes a difference in their life, and we get joy helping someone go through that because we know what it’s like to do that,” Apinis said.
Apinis described how her purpose to supply others with wigs comes from her own battle with cancer.
“I’m a 21-year cancer survivor, and to this day, I remember when I woke up and a handful of hair came out of my head. I remember the feeling I had, so it’s another trauma you go through when you’re battling cancer,” she said.
Because of the pandemic, Apinis says their doors remain closed, but they still offer their services.
“We have the ladies send us a picture of what they’re looking for, and then we pick out a few wigs that are similar. They’ll stay in their car with their masks on, and we will come out with a wig. If it suits them, they’ll take the wig, and if it doesn’t, we will keep trying,” Apinis said.
Apinis also shared a story of a woman who came to them and found a wig that was similar to what her normal hair had looked like. After putting the wig on, she burst into tears, saying it was the first time she had felt like a woman since her surgery.
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