“The past is history, the future is a mystery, but today is a gift, that’s why they call it the present.”
THE POWER OF A WIG
Article written by Cheryl Tankersley
[Published on Joan Lunden.com]
My name is Cheryl Tankersley. I was born and raised in Southern California but moved to Richmond almost 30 years ago with my husband’s job. In Richmond, I am the proud owner of Planet Hair. I opened the salon in 1997 as a premier luxury spa (complete with a baby grand piano and a musician to entertain our clients!)
Ten years ago, I became ill with a resistant infection. I had surgery for an infection in the brain and had a PIC line four times a day, for 6 months. At the same time, my husband had a stroke, so we quickly found ourselves in a situation where we had to make some lifestyle changes. We decided to downsize our business and focus just on hair.
About a year after my medical scare, one of my clients (who happened to be one of the top breast cancer radiologist in Richmond) approached me about helping her sister get a wig as she was being treated for lung cancer and would be losing her hair. It was thanks to Dr. Ellen deParades that I found my call.
I have now been working with women with hair loss for 8 years and 90% of my clients are women with cancer. The effects of chemotherapy can be devastating, and I have found that for a woman, losing her hair, is probably the most difficult side effect for them to deal with.
On one hand, “Yes, it is only hair…” but on the other hand, hair loss is an outward manifestation, a reminder of a cancer diagnosis and journey with chemotherapy.
Hollywood has tried to convince us that our femininity is based on our breasts and our hair. When a woman loses both as a result of breast cancer, it can be very devastating to them.
At Planet Hair we have two gorgeous private rooms to allow clients privacy as we work together to make them feel beautiful and happy despite their circumstance. I carefully select everything down to the music that is played in the room, to make their experience the most comfortable for them at this time. I provide a free 1-hour consultation to give them education on “what to expect and when to expect the hair loss to begin.” I teach them about the different types of wigs and the benefits and drawbacks of each type and we have fun while making their selection.
When the hair is beginning to fall out and they are ready to shave, we have them come back in. That is when I shave their head and fit and customize their wig. Depending upon their frame of mind on that day, I sometimes will entertain them with a Mohawk cut, complete with pink, purple or lime green spray paint before we actually shave the head. I try and make this experience as comfortable as possible for each patient.
Below is a collage of pictures of a sample of the incredible women I’ve had the privilege of serving. I wanted to share with you the diversity of their ages, their lifestyles and that the majority of these women, do not have a pre- existing genetic disposition for breast cancer.
I feel like I am doing what I was called to do. Thank you for the opportunity to do whatever I can to be a blessing to women. Whether it be through a simple 2 oz wig, a tight hug or holding their hand and crying along with them and assuring them that they too are a warrior, I am honored to be there for them.
“Together, we CAN make a difference!”
Dear Mike and Cheryl,I wanted to take the opportunity to say “Thank you” for the services you provide to me at Planet Hair, as well as your friendship. It is a gift to me to have known you both these past 7 years and to be able to tell my family and friends that my “salonist” is not only my hairdresser but a “true, dear friend.”During every session I have spent with you I come away feeling like a brand new person, literally inside AND out! Our conversations have shown me that you genuinely care about your clients and you have offered great support and advice on those days that I was not feeling my best!I will always treasure the token picture you gave to me to help “lift my spirits and faith” during a dark period in my life.Thank you for your services and keeping me looking my best! But most of all, thank you for your friendship, smiles, hugs and the laughter you have shared with me every time I get to come visit and go through “the beauty machine!” I am blessed to have walked through your doors at Planet Hair on that very first day many years ago! Take care and God Bless you both! - Connie
After hearing the words cancer and chemotherapy in the same paragraph your mind begins swirling. There are so many decisions that need to be made and your body, mind and spirit wonder if you can do it. Then, you meet real life angels on your cancer journey. You know these people. They are the ones you will remember forever, the folks that truly make a difference in your journey and in your life. One of those angels was Cheryl at Planet Hair. I knew I would lose my hair to chemo treatments and I began the search for wigs. I looked in several locations prior to meeting Cheryl, but I will never forget my initial phone call to her after leaving another salon. I was tearful after that awful experience. I called Cheryl and she said to come immediately, “we will make you feel better”. Imagine that, feel better? I was already driving to the salon! When I arrived, she greeted me with a hug and she showed me to her beautiful, private wig salon. We began the process of matching my hair color, style and preferences. At the end of our first visit, I felt a sense of relief that the loss of my hair would be manageable. I would go on to see Cheryl several more times during my treatments, actually ending up with 4 wigs that received loads of compliments! She made sure that each one was styled to perfection. One year later, I have my own hair and have had several haircuts since those days in wigs. I cannot express enough how important Cheryl and Planet Hair were in my cancer journey and recovery. I now enjoy seeing Cheryl every six weeks for a haircut of my very own hair!
I know where to find an angel! – Darlene E
I met Cheryl Tankersley in 1999 when I just happened to stop by Plaint Hair. She was sweeping the floor in anticipation of closing the shop for the day. Although she was closing, Cheryl immediately turned her attention on me, insisted I stay and gave me an “on the spot” consultation. She made me, a total stranger, feel important and that she wanted nothing more than to help me feel better about me . Well….. 12 years later nothing has changed!! Every single time I enter the Planet Hair door 100% customer service is provided. It is an open arms establishment whose entire goal is to make sure when you walk out their door you feel and look better than when you walked in.
I am a part of the Planet Hair family. – Tracy Brooks Drewry
Our Laughter In the Rain
Our Laughter in the Rain is a non-profit care group founded by Cheryl Tankersley that provides a comfortable, comforting and empowering place for those affected by cancer. Promoting JOY and LAUGHTER throughout the health journey of body, mind and spirit is our primary purpose and calling!
Check out this year's event by watching this video!!
"... together we touched lives"
Put Sunday September 25th 2022 on your calendar for next year's event and contact Cheryl for more information.