Our primary mission is to provide women undergoing chemotherapy with high quality wigs and practical tips for managing the issues surrounding cancer-related hair loss. Of equal importance is the caring and confidential environment we offer newly diagnosed women, where they can connect with one of our experienced coordinators, a cancer survivor herself, who provides valuable information, personal insight and can refer women to a variety of local resources and support.
Kate Conn and Sandy Samberg
Michele Korian, Janet Muller, Mary Ciampi and Kate Conn
Wig Intake Coorinators
Sandy Samberg, Susan Marynowski, Vicki Whatley and Monica Brenner
Call it serendipity, kismet or just terrific timing, The Wig Exchange is the product of three people coming to the same idea from different directions. Our founding members—Sandy Samberg, Kate Conn and Paul Conn—come from professional experience as varied as healthcare, fundraising, business development, partnerships, financial exchange and registry management. What they shared was a desire to give something back and a vision of how to go about it.
Kate Conn, after her own battle with breast cancer, was wondering what to do with her expensive, slightly used wig. In response to inquiries from women with cancer who needed a wig, Sandy Samberg had been exploring ways to expand the cancer-related services that her charitable organization, Sole Ryeders, provides. Paul Conn meanwhile was envisioning the how—drawing on his expertise to embrace the Internet and social media to bring disparate groups (wig donors, newly diagnosed women and sponsors) together more efficiently.
The initial conversation was further inspired by an article in the Wall Street Journal about a pay-it-forward wig, passed from one survivor to another woman starting her journey with cancer. As their conversations progressed, it soon became clear to Kate, Paul and Sandy that there was indeed an unfulfilled need here. Add the fact that most wigs last up to ten years when properly cared for, and that most chemotherapy patients use their wigs for just six months to a year, our founders realized there must be thousands of usable wigs just sitting in closets everywhere. The idea to recycle them, while providing well-made wigs to women in need, seemed like a natural.
The Wig Exchange was officially launched in December 2011, in large part through funds donated by Tompkins Financial Advisors of White Plains, NY. Kate Conn currently acts as program coordinator, helping newly diagnosed women find wigs as well as other support services. Perhaps even more importantly, she provides the comfort and care that only someone who’s experienced cancer herself can offer.
Our family and friends, colleagues and community, have all been integral in creating The Wig Exchange. As the organization continues to grow and evolve, we continue to express our gratitude for all the support we’ve received. Kate, Paul and Sandy.
Legal & Tax Information
The Wig Exchange is owned and operated by Sole Ryeders & Friends, a charitable organization based in Rye, NY. The Sole Ryeders Fund is maintained at FJC (www.fjc.org), a foundation of charitable funds. FJC provides comprehensive management of charitable dollars and giving. All contributions made to the Sole Ryeders & Friends account maintained at FJC are deductible to the extent allowed by the Internal Revenue Service, as FJC is a registered 501(c)3.