Marys Room ~ February 14, 2002
Mary's Wig & Fitting Room
101 John James Audubon Parkway
Amherst, NY 14228
FREE of charge to women undergoing cancer treatment.
Spirit Lives in Room for Cancer Patients
By Cindi Wittcop Lockport Journal
Those who knew her say Mary Marvin had a non-stop smile, an
exuberant spirit and a heart as big as Lockport.
Because she cared so much for others, area cancer victims receive
help in coping with some of the side effects of treatment, including
the hair loss often caused by chemotherapy. In 1996, Mary founded
the Wig Depot at the American Cancer Society in Amherst. There,
cancer patients can obtain free wigs or other head coverings
in dignity and privacy.
Mary did it because she understood the struggle. Diagnosed with
breast cancer on April 1, 1994, she made it her mission to help
other women fighting the disease. She threw herself tirelessly
into the cause, despite her own battle.
After going through surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, Mary
was deemed cancer free for two years, but was stricken again,
the second time with liver and bone cancer.
It didn't slow her down. She not only founded the wig room,
but also worked with fellow breast cancer victim Lucy Burger
to begin the annual Mothers Day Breast Cancer Canal Walk.
Mary died of cancer April 26, 1998 and as a fitting tribute
to her loving concern for others, the ACS changed the name of
the wig room to Mary's Room.
Mary was diagnosed it became her quest in life to educate and
help other women, Burger said. She touched a lot
of peoples lives and she never gave up once.
The wig room came to be, Burger said, because, When (cancer
patients) went to try on a wig, they had to go to the rest room,
where there was no privacy. Its such a devastating thing
for a woman to lose her hair, and Mary thought it was necessary
to get some privacy, so she got that room.
The service is free to anyone with cancer, Burger said. At Marys
Room, patients can try on wigs, turbans and what Burger calls
little babushkas. Reach to Recovery volunteers help
clients with their head covering choices and assist in any way
Marys sisters, Glenda Chausse and Rebecca Kelley, were
two of her biggest fans, and they feel it's their duty now to
pick up where she left off. Theyre both heavily committed
to the cause she believed in.
Mary was so strong and she did so much, Chausse
said. She was so involved in every cause and was very
busy, always helping someone. She never stopped -- the year
before last she was at the Canal Walk wearing her turban. She
never quit. Kelley said, Mary was wonderful, she
was not only my sister, she was also my friend. It was amazing
what she did for some of those women who were so scared (because)
she knew what they were going through. And if there is
one thing Marvin would want people to know, it would be the
importance of breast cancer awareness, self-examination and
mammograms, the sisters said.
Mary is still with us in spirit, Chausse said. And
we feel she wants us to continue educating and helping other