Event Spotlight: Drag Queens Join Forces To Kickstart Wig Salon For Cancer Patients

Big wigs and a big cause: that will be the atmosphere on Sunday afternoon at Midnight Sun, when Diva Hair by David Carver-Ford and a star-studded list of drag queens come together for the JUS' TEASIN' Wig Extravaganza.

Proceeds from the event will go to helping kick off Carver-Ford’s nonprofit salon, Wig Bank, which will provide cancer patients (men, women, and children) who've lost their hair to chemo with custom-made, custom-fitted wigs.

At his future Wig Bank, “people undergoing cancer treatments would come for a wig and it would be customized to fit them, giving them a more natural look and make them feel better about themselves,” said Carver-Ford, whose shop is based in the Mission. He hopes that the salon's future clientele will include people of all ages and genders, including those with alopecia.

“I've worked with cancer patients for many years, and have come to the realization they need a private and intimate space for private wig fittings and for when they need to shave their heads in preparation of chemotherapy,” said Carver-Ford, who has been a hair artist for over 20 years. “They need someone to listen, and put a hand on their shoulder and empathize.”

When he isn't styling hair, Carver-Ford works with Wigs For Kids, an Ohio-based nonprofit that provides wigs to children going through cancer treatments. As part of his work with the organization, Carver-Ford, who was the recipient of the Wigs For Kids Mark of Distinction Award in 2009, travels to hospitals around the Bay Area, measuring patients for wigs made from human hair that he cuts and styles.

“This is what the beauty business is about to me,” Carver-Ford said. “Not the latest haircut or fad color. I want to give people back their dignity, and I have a determination to succeed and to help people feel better about themselves and achieve a more natural look.”

His clients and friends are rallying behind the cause. “I was one of David's first wig clients,” said Mutha Chucka, the event’s hostess and a fixture in the local drag scene who hosts a monthly show at the Midnight Sun called Sex, Drags, and Rock n Roll. “David mentioned his dream of starting this charity focused on providing wigs to people going through cancer treatment, and asked for my help, which I was happy to provide.”

In the '90s, Mutha Chucka worked with the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence on wig and makeup drives for Look Good Feel Better“The cause is very near and dear to my heart,” she said. “You can't live in this world for as long as I have and not be affected by cancer. I've lost family members and friends, coworkers and acquaintances, of all ages and sizes and risk factors.”  

These days, she views her public life as a drag queen as a platform to advocate for charitable causes, and has worked closely with the San Francisco Leukemia and Lymphoma Society for over a decade. “With any type of fundraising event, my goals are always to raise money and awareness. Education is power. In our culture, money talks.  Both are needed to fight cancer."

At Sunday’s event, Mutha Chucka will  be joined by Ava LaShay, Cheron Dippity, Cruzin d’Loo, Harley Rouge, Jesus U BettaWork, Karla Dream, Lynn Phoma, Olivia Hart, Pickles Buffette, and Sally Strut. GNews!, with Celso Dulay and Liisa Cohen, will also be doing live interviews at the event.

“All the performers are great," said Mutha Chucka. "We're going to put on the best damn show this Sunday afternoon, and we'll take your dollars and put them to good use!”

For Carver-Ford, the thought of getting his nonprofit off the ground is thrilling. “It feels good to do this work for people with cancer. There’s just such an appreciation and a bond that you start to get ... They’re just so excited and pleased to get it, especially the little girls that don’t have hair. It just gives them a little piece of their selves back, and you can see it in their face: incredible excitement.”

If you can't make the Wig Extravaganza, you can donate directly to David Carver-Ford’s GoFundMe for Wig Bank here. Carver-Ford is also teaming up with Cruzin d’Loo tonight at Balançoire to kick off the fundraiser.

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