My name is Natasha Verma. I have a unique upbringing having graduated from high school at the age of 15. By 17, I became the University of Texas’ youngest-ever graduate, earning two undergraduate degrees – in broadcast journalism and biology/pre-med. At 18, I earned a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University.
After working my way up the ladder in the television industry, I became an anchor and reporter for NBC in 2016.
I had no thoughts of slowing down until one morning, I felt a lump on my neck. Later that night at Fenway Park, my chest started to tighten. After a misdiagnosis, I advocated for my health and urged doctors for an ultrasound.
“You have cancer.”
Doctors found fast-growing malignant tumors on both sides of my collarbone and in my chest. I was diagnosed with stage 2 Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Doctors said I was the perfect candidate for the disease with no known cause: a healthy woman in my early 20s. I mockingly thought, “Great!”
With a race against time, I immediately underwent aggressive chemotherapy for months at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, MA.
For the first time, I was forced to press pause on my life to embark on the most difficult and enlightening journey yet.
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.
I put every ounce of faith in the brilliant doctors at Beth Israel. Thanks to Dr. Robin Joyce, Dr. Kartik Sehgal, nurse Jade Hering and my oncology team,
I am in remission.
Losing my hair was the hardest part of chemotherapy. When doctors told me I’d lose my hair to treatment, I felt panicked. It sounds so trivial, but that’s my identity and that’s how I express myself. It was a really big punch after already hearing you have cancer.
Dealing with ill-fitting, itchy, and expensive wigs on top of it all only made it worse. I would throw a baseball cap on top of my wig to avoid the problems, and that’s when the light bulb went off. On January 3, 2018, I launched a “Cap Wig” fundraiser to raise enough money to produce free hats with hair for female and children cancer patients who want to have a wig look, without the hassle of cost or style. Many women, especially those struggling to cover health care bills, cannot afford the cost of a quality wig.
The cap wigs are made from 100 percent human hair, customizable, and completely free for cancer patients. After verifying their diagnosis with the Verma Foundation, each patient is entitled to a cap and can choose the color of both cap and hair. Each costs around $250 — a far cry from the $1,000 to $2,000 some of the higher-quality wigs usually cost.
Donate a Cap Wig to Patients Fighting CancerYour financial donation allows us to create custom Cap Wigs at no cost to families dealing with cancer. By donating, you’re not only giving a cancer patient a wig, you’re giving her confidence, hope and emotional strength.