11/01/2013 05:38 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

My Lolly's Locks Experience

My name is Deb Donatti. I am a 47-year-old mother of three, married for almost 25 years... and at the end of July 2013, I found out I have invasive breast cancer.

The first thing I thought upon hearing the word "cancer" was this is the ultimate bad dream! I am going to DIE, and die soon! I will probably always consider that moment to be the worst experience of my life. The second feeling I had quickly became... but I don't want to LOOK sick! I worried about losing my long hair and how that drastic unwanted change would affect my attitude during my treatments, the way my family coped with my cancer, and how even total strangers viewed and treated me. I was in a panic, and most of that panic was now about my HAIR. It was strange how fast my hair began to feel like a symbol of my health, independence, and positive attitude. I never thought my hair had that much importance in my life, and now I was beginning to feel akin to a real life "Samson."

A few days before I was to begin chemotherapy, my family and I visited a dear friend who is a beautician and she worked with great care and precision to cut my hair in the hopes that I could use my own hair for a wig. The kids took pictures and seemed to find comfort in our taking control of when and how most of Mom's hair would come off.

Next, I looked everywhere for someone who could help me make my own hair into a wig, but the cost was so incredible that I knew right away this would never be an option for me. Part of the problem was that I had such long hair before, and I really wanted to look like ME, and not just someone in a wig.

Our family meets our obligations, and my husband works hard, but it was beginning to feel as if a wig would just be a frivolous expense that I would not be able to justify. The final blow was to find that my insurance plan would not cover a wig as prosthesis... so I would have to foot the cost alone. This was devastating to me and I was quickly reeling from the same feelings of shock, fear and sadness that gripped me upon the initial cancer diagnosis.

Then I found the organization "Lolly's Locks" via an online search. I began to wonder if there could be some hope again. My husband and I watched the beautiful video that Lolly's family had put together about Lolly and her battle, and we both were brought to tears. I was so hopeful they could help me! I applied with them for assistance the very next day. Right away I received a call from Jaime Wright, and immediately I felt as if I were talking with an old friend. I received a call a few days later to let me know that I had been selected as a Lolly's Locks wig recipient! I was beyond excited! In the days that followed I supplied my measurements and photos to Lolly's Locks, and they put their wig creators to work making my new hair. My new wig actually arrived the day before my second chemo treatment. It was long, beautiful and it looked so good on me. Most of all, it was comfortable against my sensitive scalp -- unIike a few of the wigs I tried on at drug stores.

The day after receiving my wig, I dressed up, put on my beautiful new hair, and I baked cookies to take to the other ladies at the treatment center. This was really the first time since my diagnosis that I felt like my old self. I had so many people that day tell me how great I looked, what a positive attitude I had, how amazing I was... and I soaked it all in. This was really as good as any of the medicines I received that day. It was really amazing to me what a huge difference something like a beautiful head of hair could make. For women facing hair loss from cancer treatment, Lolly's Locks feels like a warm hug, an affirmation of our inner strength, and a focus for our hope and joy. Maintaining your sense of self is SO important toward your healing, and Lolly's wonderful family knows this so well. I can never thank Lolly's Locks enough, and I will always have my beautiful gift from them as a symbol of the spirit and positive attitude that will get me through my own journey.