City of Hope in Duarte outfits cancer patients with wigs to support emotional recovery

DUARTE, Calif. (KABC) -- When battling cancer, there's the struggle to find the right treatment. There's also the fight to recover not only physically but emotionally. That's why every year, City of Hope outfits its patients with something to lift their spirits.

Amy Bathke, 45, is about to undergo the next phase of her recovery.

Bathki had no idea what celebrity hairstylist Jose Eber and his team had in mind for her new look, but she was ready to take a leap.

"You never know when they're going to change your image and get something new," she said.

She played with a short and conservative looking wig, then she chose something longer and layered.

Bathke decided to be more daring and go for a wispy look.

"It doesn't even look like a wig," Eber said.

It's been 100 days since Bathke underwent a bone marrow transplant

"Rejuvenated, I guess, to go on with my life and everything after going through so much," Bathke said, holding back tears.

Even as she looks forward, it's hard not to look back at her struggle with acute myeloid leukemia.

"I've been in and out of hospitals for a year and a half, since May 2017," she said.

Bathki and more than a hundred other City of Hope cancer patients were recently treated to wigs by actress Jaclyn Smith, donated by Paula Young.

Many can't afford the high cost of hair pieces. At the City of Hope event, the patients received customized styling that shaped the wigs to their faces.

"They walk in and they have tears in their eyes and they're sad. And then we put a wig on them. We play around with it and then they smile," Eber said.

After you've lost your hair, a wig can do more than make you feel good, it can also be a form of treatment. And some say in the battle against cancer, it can actually be a weapon.

"Looking good is very powerful because it does make you feel good," Eber said.

"It's very empowering to get a new hairstyle, of course, but especially if you don't have any hair," Bathke said.

For most of the women here, putting on a wig is like putting on a superhero cape.

It's another tool to add to Bathke's arsenal as she gets ready to take back her life.
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