Indian American reporter and anchor at NBC Boston Natasha Verma, who, having felt the pain of losing her hair to cancer in 2017, has now decided to do something for other cancer patients.
The 23-year-old, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2017 and has been in remission since November 2017, has initiated a project, “Put a Cap on Cancer,” through which she will provide free stylish “cap wigs” to patients battling the disease.
Verma, who joined NBC in 2016, was always a go-getter, an over-achiever. By 17, she became the University of Texas’ youngest-ever graduate, earning two undergraduate degrees – in broadcast journalism and biology/pre-med. At 18, she earned a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University.
As a healthy woman in her early 20s, everything was going well for Verma until one morning, she felt a lump on her neck. Doctors found fast-growing malignant tumors on both sides of her collarbone and in her chest. She was diagnosed with stage 2 Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
With a race against time, she immediately underwent aggressive chemotherapy for months at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts.
“For the first time, I was forced to press pause on my life to embark on the most difficult and enlightening journey yet,” Verma recalls on her website. “I was shocked, heartbroken, and honestly, angry. With the incredible support of my family and friends, I was able to overcome the excruciating pain from chemotherapy and the emotional difficulties of hair loss. In the end, I came out a stronger person with an enriched perspective on life.”
The hardest part of her cancer treatment, Verma explains, was chemotherapy, which led to hair loss. And she found herself strugglingwith finding the right wig. She ended up wearing baseball caps on top of her wig during her cancer treatment, and loved the look. And when time came, she began to raise money and donate free high-quality cap wigs to women and children fighting cancer.
Verma, who is getting ready to go back to work in February, has started a donation drive on Facebook to raise funds for the cause.
“Losing my hair was one of the hardest parts of chemotherapy,” Verma wrote on Facebook. “Many women, especially those struggling to cover health care bills, cannot afford the cost of a quality wig. That’s why I’ve decided to raise money and donate free wigs to women and children fighting cancer.”
She added that every wig is 100 percent human hair – available in 80 colors – that is permanently attached to a cap, “creating a ready-to-wear look with no styling needed.”
“Your donation will be a tremendous gift to a woman or child undergoing chemotherapy. More than just hair, you are giving the gift of confidence, hope and strength,” she wrote.
All donations will go toward the Leukemia and Lymphoma Research Fund at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts, where she was treated.
For more information, visit www.vermafoundation.org.