Sally Stocker dedicates her time to help those impacted by cancer through volunteering as a hairdresser in the Altru Cancer Center.
When Sandy Dittus first walked into the hair salon on the bottom floor of Altru Cancer Center she wasn’t expecting the small room to be so busy. “I remember walking into the salon my first day and there were some people ahead of me,” says Sandy, a patient at Altru Cancer Center, a board member of the Altru Health Foundation and an attorney at Zimney Foster, P.C. “There was a happy buzz, it felt just like a beauty shop. It’s an environment where you can have fun and chat. Sally has such a warm spirit.”
Sally Stocker was a hairdresser for 40 years. Now retired, she volunteers several hours a week at the Altru Cancer Center. “I remember when Sandy came in and I had just gotten a wig in that I knew would be perfect for her.”
“She picked a wig just like that,” says Sandy. “Sally is the perfect combination of an amazing person with the skills for this job. She looked right at me and knew exactly what I needed, and everyone tells me they love my hairstyle. That was all Sally, I can’t take any credit.”
The hair salon helps many patients battling cancer find a new look. “We are constantly ordering wigs, we give away at least 2-3 a week,” says Sally. “We have hats and doo-rags too.”
For Sandy, the new look helped her step outside her cancer world for just that little bit of time. “When you get cancer, the medical professionals always talk about your new normal,” explains Sandy. “When you get cancer, you have a new normal, and it is different than your old life. What Sally does is give you a little bit of time back in your old normal, and it’s a true comfort.”
Sandy’s last chemo treatment was February 13, 2018. The work that volunteers like Sally do helps patients get through the toughest times in their lives. Whether it is a five-minute conversation, handing out bottles of water or giving patients a new look, volunteers have a huge impact. Each year, 300+ volunteers provide the health system over 25,000 hours of valuable service.
“I want people to feel good and it makes me feel good to help. I tell them they are going to look fantastic when they leave,” says Sally. “I’m so glad when I see people and they come back and they are healthy and looking great. I love to learn their stories. Some stories are real sad and then you see them again and their hair has grown back and they are so happy.”
“It’s amazing how many people are affected by cancer. Every time I walked through those doors I saw someone else I knew,” says Sandy. “I’m 57 years old. I have been married to my best friend for over 30 years and watched my kids grow up. So many people don’t get that. I can’t say enough good about this whole place, the staff and volunteers. They make a huge difference in people’s lives.”
The salon is able to provide these items to patients battling cancer with the help of generous donations. If you are interested in donating go to altru.org/donate, fill out the enclosed envelope or call 701.780.5600.
How to Volunteer
Do you enjoy helping people? We have the perfect opportunity for you. If you are interested in serving in a volunteer role, please fill out the adult volunteer application at altru.org/volunteer. With any questions, please contact us at 701.780.5125.