Kaz Foncette danced among her friends wearing a bright green wig topped with a giant flower at Glastonbury in 2017. She didn’t look like your typical breast cancer patient – the 31-year-old had delayed her chemotherapy treatment for a week in order to attend the festival.
“You know how it is, those tickets are like gold dust, so I said: ‘I want to let my hair down with my friends while I’m still able to,’” says Foncette, now 33 and based in Seven Sisters, London.
“I bought these really funky coloured wigs I knew I probably wouldn’t wear after the hair loss, but it was my way of embracing change and the fact my hair was going to go. I had the best time.”
Foncette started chemo the day after coming back from Glastonbury. She’d initially refused the treatment – requesting a lumpectomy – because she associated “chemo with death” and didn’t want to lose her hair.
But after paying for tests at a private clinic – where they confirmed everything the NHS doctor had said – Foncette accepted surgery wouldn’t be enough to protect her from the tumour she’d discovered in the shower. She agreed to go ahead with chemo.
“I’m Turkish Cypriot and our hair is our thing,” she says. “I just couldn’t see myself without hair. It might seem so silly, but I was terrified of losing myself and becoming this alien-type person. The image shook me completely.”
Shopping for the colourful festival wigs with friends helped Foncette come to terms with hair loss and surprisingly, she didn’t cry when clumps began to fall out. But she was shocked when a nurse showed her some of the...