Gone With the Wigs

Local teen Megan Forbes and her nonprofit host
a fashion show for cancer awareness.

Between track and cross-country practice and visiting prospective colleges, Megan Forbes is a typical junior in high school. But in her rare moments of free time, she created something out of the ordinary: a nonprofit called Gone With the Wigs.

Sprung from a discussion that took place around her family’s dinner table, Gone With the Wigs seeks to give cancer patients, survivors and their loved ones a national day of solidarity. In her first fundraising event for that goal, Megan is hosting a fashion show at The Belamar Hotel in Manhattan Beach on May 17.

“The models are cancer survivors or cancer patients, and they’re going to hopefully feel liberated and confident while walking the runway,” Megan says.

After her grandmother was diagnosed with lung cancer seven years ago, Megan saw how she struggled with the loss of her hair due to chemotherapy treatments. For a while she wore wigs, but she eventually decided to go without them to show the prevalence of the disease. This sparked the idea for the nonprofit.

When her grandmother died two years later and her grandfather was diagnosed and killed by the same cancer two years after that, Megan didn’t want the idea to be forgotten.

She worked after school and on weekends and got help from her mother, Lauren, with legal documents. She drew the logo and created the website herself and officially launched Gone With the Wigs last fall.

“It’s been kind of a struggle, but I’ve been able to manage it and I’m thankful that I have,” Megan says.

The fashion show will feature clothes from local stores, as well as two dresses from Matthew Sarafa, a friend of Megan’s and a fellow 17-year-old who was featured on Project Runway: Threads. An auction will also take place, and prizes include box seats at a Los Angeles Kings hockey game and tickets to a USC football game.

While there is no set date for that national day of compassion when cancer patients and survivors can shed their wigs and bandanas and their loved ones can shave their heads or wear bald caps, Megan hopes that the Gone With the Wigs Day can take place in August. She also plans to develop or support a South Bay cancer awareness center in the future.

“I hope everyone can feel connected somehow, because in reality everyone has been affected by cancer,” she says.