TAMPA, Fla. — For more than 20 years a Tampa Heights resident has been making wigs for women undergoing chemotherapy. Now those women are giving back, after Christine Heinen’s home and business caught fire over the weekend.
Heinen continues to dig through the damage, trying to determine what may be salvageable following the electrical fire.
“I still haven’t even actually cried yet, I still think that’s coming in another two weeks,” said Heinen.
Despite all the furniture and belongings that were lost, what firefighters were able to save could be considered irreplaceable. It’s locks of hair.
You see Heinen is the Chemo Diva. She makes wigs for women undergoing chemotherapy using their real hair.
“Women from all over the country who are losing their hair will cut their ponytails off and send them to us and we make it into a halo wig that they can wear under any hat, cap or scarf,” said Heinen. “It gave them so much emotional support that it helped them get through the difficulty of cancer treatment.”
Now it’s Heinen who needs the support. The damage to her home and business is estimated at $200,000 and she doesn’t have insurance.
“Within hours I was surprised to see how many donations were coming in,” said Heinen.
Most of those donations are coming from old clients. Heinen sat in what’s left of her kitchen and read a few.
“Amy writes, ‘just donated, you made a wig for me almost five years ago and I will be forever grateful, may God bless the re-building of your business,’” read Heinen.
After reading these comments Heinen said it’s more apparent now than ever that women need the Chemo Diva and she will find a way to continue on.
“Having something to do for people that helps with their pain just means a lot to me so I can’t imagine not doing this, it’s just something I’m going to keep doing as long as I possibly can,” said Heinen.