Under her elegant wine-colored velvet hat, Leah smiled shyly. Sheltered from the sun in her garden, Fabian Delphine, a 22-year-old designer of toppers, gently tells her story. And in particular what explains his presence on that day in this Brussels workshop, on the occasion of the presentation of the Caring hat Fund initiative, created at the end of 2021, which aims to raise funds for the provision of high-quality chef hat to people affected by alopecia areata who cannot bear it. in other words : “Contribute to their well-being”.
Because if Leah came to testify in this context, she would have lost her hair, after chemotherapy after the breast cancer she was diagnosed with last September. “I wasn’t expecting that at allthe bac 2 student, who will become an elementary school teacher, admits to us, But I carried the BRCA2 gene. No one in my family has ever had breast cancer.” Suffice it to say that at the dawn of her twenties, the world was turned upside down for Leah.
However, perhaps less than the progression and outcome of the disease, what frightens him above all when announcing the diagnosis, is the idea of his hair loss. “The first thing that crossed my mind was finding a wig to protect me from other people’s sight the day I lost my hair.you remember. The word cancer was automatically associated with wigs, when I didn’t yet know whether or not I was going to have to undergo chemotherapy. We went with my father and sister to many stores to find the one that suits me. And I didn’t find anything that I felt comfortable with. I’m just really.”
Get out of the stigma
Following the ordeal of a mastectomy and confirmation of upcoming chemotherapy, the comforting news will come from Professor Martin Berlier, OB-GYN and breast clinic coordinator at the King Albert Institute – St Luke’s University Clinics, who is supporting the entire project. It was she who put Léa in touch with Fabienne Delvigne, a babysitter of 35 years. “Increasingly for some time, I have received requests from people who want a hat that can protect them from hair loss due to a serious illness, such as cancer or a brain tumor. For various reasons, they do not tolerate wearing a wig, nor a cancer hat that automatically indicates disease. People don’t want stigma as a sick person. That’s how the initiative was born.”says the co-founder of the association, which offers made-to-measure hats.
In the store, I tried many modelsLeah says, That’s when I realized I didn’t want to wear a wig. Simply because it didn’t suit me. I have been fortunate to receive this lovely hat which I have been able to wear during my chemo and with which I feel so much better. I no longer have those heavy looks I was given when I was wearing my cancer hat. Then that pathetic little smile.
Which prompted Fabian Delevingne to say at once: “In some circumstances, we wear a hat. In others, it is the hat that we wear. This restores hope and the desire to live and allows others to look with admiration rather than sympathy. The care fund, it is a beautiful solution because it makes people beautiful. It is not because we are sick because we do not want to stay As we are. For us, benevolence and self-respect are the most important concepts we want to highlight. Testimonies we have heard since the inception of Caring Hat, it seems that the hat can give strength to face life’s difficulties.”
Look at the hat and not at oneself as a patientconfirms Leah, who suffered above all precisely from the gaze of others. Now, no one talks to me about my illness. They talk to me about my hat.”
can be a hat “But also a hat or any other elegant or fashionable headgear, which gives a sense of liveliness”, hurries to add Fabien Delphine. As long as it does not transmit disease, but on the contrary keeps it away.
A project supported by the world of medicine
I take care of breast cancer patientsProfessor Martin Berlier intervenes. And I think one of the most important things for the future is being able to counteract the side effects of treatments, of which hair loss is one of the most exciting for patients. If there is a wig, this is not necessarily a suitable solution for all patients. So we struggle to come up with other forms of head coverings, like scarves, which also have their limitations. This project immediately filled me with great enthusiasm as I consider it a plus for our patients who are facing side effects.”
“When you’re told you’re going to lose your hair, sometimes it’s more important than knowing you have cancer.explains Yvette Vermeersch, nurse in charge of the wellbeing space at Cliniques Saint-Luc. It is very difficult to accept. We are here to show patients that there are solutions. Here is another one. The afternoon when the patient goes to pick her hat in the workshop, she will forget that she is sick. For her, it is happiness only in very difficult times. And even if this stage remains temporary, it is necessary to help those women, those men who suffer from hair loss after illness. ”
Bill to extend reimbursement
According to a survey conducted in a Belgian hospital, out of 600 patients suffering from hair loss after chemotherapy or a serious illness, 200 of them wanted to find an alternative to traditional solutions such as wigs, hats, scarves and other accessories.
At the moment, only 180 euros are refunded for the “hair prosthesis”. In other words, a wig or a compass, a solution that does not necessarily suit everyone. Also, in order to meet the wishes of a larger number, an invoice has been submitted as part of the Caring hat project so that this contribution of €180 granted by INAMI for wigs alone is extended to all head coverings, be it caps or hats. Benny… “It is not a matter of increasing the refund amountFabian Delphine confirms, But leave the choice of head covering to the patient.”
Caring hat group peculiarities
With regard to the hats of the Caring hat group, it has several characteristics. They are made to measure, personalized, and completely adapted to each person’s nature. It is made of natural, comfortable, soft, hypoallergenic and non-irritating materials. They protect against UV rays, heat and cold thanks to the special lining. In addition, the models presented are designed to cover the entire scalp while providing volume, providing a feeling of security.
As for the price of these “lifetime” designer hats, they range from 250 to 690 euros. For comparison, fake wigs cost between €300 and €700 and natural hair between €1,200 and €3,500 or even €4,500.
Several hospitals are already involved in the initiative: Saint-Luc University Clinics, Saint-Jean Clinic, Chirec Hospital Group, as well as associations. For their part, Partenamut and Christian Mutuality have already indicated that once the bill is passed, they will be ready to receive a small contribution. In the event of a positive decision, supplemental insurances should also follow.
As for knowing how to benefit from the Caring hat fund, it is up to the medical profession (doctors, nurses, hospital, etc.) to select the patients most likely to benefit from the association’s assistance, based on their abilities. Finance. Due to the lack of the necessary data or items for evaluation, the association does not wish to interfere with this selection. So there is no need to contact Maison Fabienne Delvigne to take advantage of the Caring hat Trust’s assistance. Spread the word!
Email: [email protected]; Website: www.caringhat.org; Tel: 02/315 64 99