Breast cancer patients in Melbourne’s east will soon have the chance to keep their hair whilst undergoing chemotherapy free of charge, thanks to the generosity of Ringwood mother Libby Crosby.
Since October, the Coolheads fundraising campaign has been raising funds to implement a scalp cooling service at Maroondah Hospital.
Scalp cooling technology prevents hair loss by restricting the blood flow to hair follicles during chemotherapy sessions whilst patients wear a ‘cold cap’.
Ms Crosby knows the first-hand the emotional rollercoaster of undergoing treatment for breast cancer and losing hair.
Diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005, seven months after giving birth to her daughter, Ms Crosby felt tormented by the constant reminder of her illness each time she saw her own reflection.
“People stared at me. I was self-conscious and felt I had no dignity or privacy. I did not have the choice of who I shared my illness with. It was all out there in the open because I had lost my hair,” Ms Crosby said.
“Whenever I passed a shop window or looked in the mirror, it was confronting and upsetting.”
In 2005, Ms Crosby required Herceptin, a medicine that was not listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) at the time. To assist Ms Crosby with payment of the medicine, a family member developed a trust fund.
Three quarters of the way through her treatment, Herceptin was listed on the PBS and Ms Crosby was able to receive the medicine free of charge.
Ms Crosby recently donated the excess $5,000 of her trust fund to the Coolheads campaign.
Chief of Site and Operations at Maroondah Hospital, Ms Kate Whyman, was astounded by Ms Crosby’s kind contribution.
“Ms Crosby’s donation to the Coolheads campaign has tipped us over our first milestone, allowing us to reach the $63,000 target required to purchase one scalp cooling machine, as well as additional staff time to administer the service,” Ms Whyman said.
“It is a fantastic act of kindness and will make a difference to future patients.”
The campaign will continue to raise funds for a second scalp cooling machine.
For more information or to donate, visit www.coolheads.org.au.