Today is the start of Breast Cancer Awareness Month- something very close to my heart. Here is a story that I would like to share with you...it is from a Survivor who got the strut in her step back thanks to an incredible woman, Jaime Wright- Co-Founder and President of Lolly's Locks. Get ready to admire and feel inspired :) - xoxo Aly

My name is Deb Donatti. I am 47 yr old mother of three, married for almost 25 years… and in the end of July 2013, I found out I have invasive breast cancer.

The first thing I thought upon hearing the word “cancer” was this is the ultimate bad dream!  I am going to DIE, and die soon! I will probably always consider that moment to be the worst experience of my life. The second feeling I had quickly became… but I don’t want to LOOK sick!  I knew immediately that losing my long hair would be happening, and happening fast, and I worried how that drastic unwanted change would affect my attitude during my treatments, the way my family coped with my cancer, and how even total strangers viewed and treated me. I was in a panic, and most of that panic was now about my HAIR. It was strange how fast my hair began to feel like a symbol of my health, independence, and positive attitude. I  never thought my hair had that much importance in my life, and now I was beginning to feel akin to a real life “Samson”.  I did pull myself together (somewhat) and I began quickly making plans to try to help myself and my family process the changes that were coming. We went to see a dear friend who is a beautician just days before I began my chemo, and she cut off  8- 10inch ponytails of my hair. The kids took pictures and seemed to find comfort in our taking control of when and how most of Mom’s hair would come off.  The next step I took was to frantically look for someone who could help me with a wig to get me through the rough days to come. I looked for ways to make my own hair into a wig, but the cost was so incredible that I knew right away this would never be an option for me. Part of the problem was that I had such long hair before, and I really wanted to look like ME, and not just someone in a wig. Our family meets our obligations, and my husband works hard, but it was beginning to feel as if a wig would just be a frivolous expense that I would not be able to justify. The final blow was to find that my insurance plan would not cover a wig as prosthesis… so I would have to foot the cost alone. Then I found the organization “Lolly’s Locks” via an online search. I began to wonder if there could be some hope again. My husband and I watched the beautiful video that Lolly’s family had put together about Lolly and her battle, and we both were brought to tears. I was so hopeful they could help me! I applied with them for assistance the very next day. Right away I received a call from Jaime Wright, and immediately I felt as if I were talking with an old friend. She listened to my story; she shared her own, and let me know they would try their very best to help. I received a call a few days later to let me know that I had been selected as a Lolly’s Locks wig recipient! I was beyond excited! In the days that followed I supplied my measurements and photos to Lolly’s Locks, and they put their wig creators to work making my new hair. I was so excited that it did not take long at all, and my new wig actually arrived the day before my second chemo treatment. It was long, beautiful and it looked so good on me.  I was extremely happy! I dressed up, I put on my beautiful new hair, and I baked cookies to take to the other ladies at the treatment center. This was really the first time since my diagnosis that I felt like my old self.  I had so many people that day tell me how great I looked, what a positive attitude I had, how amazing I was… and I soaked it all in. This was really as good as any of the medicines I received that day.  It was really amazing to me what a huge difference something like a beautiful head of hair could make!  I truly hope, that by sharing my own experience with as many people as possible, others will see and support the very important work that Lolly’s Locks does. For so many women out there, facing the most difficult diagnosis of their lives, what Lolly’s Locks does feels like a warm hug, an affirmation of our inner strength, and a focus for our hope and joy. Maintaining your sense of self is SO important toward your healing, and Lolly’s wonderful family knows this so well. I can never thank Lolly’s Locks enough, and I will always have my beautiful gift from them as a symbol of the spirit and positive attitude that will get me through my own journey.

Thank you Lolly’s Locks!

Deborah Donatti

PHOTO CREDIT: ALY