By day, Carla Wilson MacKinnon offers cuts, colours and perms to clients at Dreams Come True Hair Salon.
By night, and in her free moments, the Charlottetown stylist collects and offers free wigs to women on their cancer journey.
“A wig can make a person’s day. It can bring a smile. But wigs can be costly, running $500 or more. So to be able to give someone a wig that makes their day inspires me so much,” says MacKinnon whose volunteer work suddenly got noticed when she announced on a Facebook buy and sell page that she had five new wigs she wanted to donate to others.
“When people privately messaged me, I let them know they were for people with medical issues and I was giving them away.”
That time she found homes for two of them.
“I fitted one lady with a wig. Two other ladies came by and picked up another,” says MacKinnon.
Wanting the others to find a good home, she once again tapped into her arsenal of social media resources.
This time she taped a live video from her salon, talking about her volunteer work and showing the three wigs she was offering. When it was finished, she put it on her Facebook business page.
“I posted it around 3 o’clock on a Sunday afternoon and by 6:30 p.m. my phone was going full tilt,” says MacKinnon, who received dozens of private messages and post shares from women inquiring about the hairpieces as well as messages from others who wanted to donate their wigs to her.
“It exploded. I knew that the need was there, but the response that I received in just over three hours showed me how great it was.”
In the next few days, women from Ontario reached out to her through private messages. Women from Saskatoon also contacted her. Now they’re getting together to collect wigs and mail them to me.
Another woman messaged her about a wig that her mother didn’t have a chance to wear.
“They wanted to know if they could attach a note to it, for the recipient. So I told them, ‘yes, I will post your wig and I will get it to someone who needs it,” says MacKinnon who started the voluntary service as a tribute to her mother, Patricia Wilson, who died of ovarian cancer seven years ago.
“She was fortunate to have a wig. But seeing what she went through really touched me and I wanted to get into wigs.
“I’m not a wig expert, by all means. I’m a hairdresser and I’m here to help people. So if anyone has a wig they want to donate I’d be more than willing to help them at no cost.”
And she’s happy to do it in honour of her mother.
“I think my mother would be very proud of me. Life has changed since she’s gone. She was an inspiration to me, through her sickness…So it’s been a very hard seven years. She was my best friend.
Need to know
- Wigs can be dropped off at 156 Southdale Ave., Hillsborough Village, Charlottetown.
- To obtain a wig, through this voluntary service, contact Carla Wilson MacKinnon at 902-940-0790.