You’ve heard the saying, ‘when life hands you lemons, make lemonade.’ One local business owner – Kelly Giblin – is doing just that. And for five years, Giblin has been helping patients at the AIS Cancer Center who have lost their hair, make lemonade, too.
Patients like Brenda Blanton, who is losing her hair due to Valley Fever. Blanton has struggled with Valley Fever since she was in junior high school.
“My symptoms were getting fevers a lot, coughing a lot. I chalked it up to allergies and hot flashes. But, they said, ‘No, you’ve got Valley Fever,'” Blanton said.
One of the worst things for Blanton is a result of her harsh medication – Fluconazole.
“My eyelashes broke off and I’m losing hair. It just comes out when you’re washing your hair or combing your hair,” Blanton said of the harsh side-effects of Fluconazole.
Lucky for Blanton, the wig shop Lemonade Locks is located right here, in Bakersfield. For five years, on the second floor of Adventist Health AIS Cancer Center, Kelly Giblin has been selling wigs and hairpieces to patients struggling with hair loss.
“This is my lemonade,” Giblin said. “I’m using something bad that happened to me for good. And it’s been such a blessing.”
Giblin is also the victim of severe hair loss. She developed Alopecia nine years ago causing her to have large bald spots.
“I had a horrible experience trying to find wigs. Just a traumatizing experience. So I decided after I got over that initial trauma of hair loss, that I would start a wig boutique,” Giblin said.
What started as a small, weekend operation out of her home, has turned into a storefront that sees foot traffic five days a week. Men and women can book consultations with Giblin and buy customized synthetic hair in one of 25 colors Monday through Friday.
“I went online and I found Kelly and I came in here,” said Blanton. “I don’t want something that doesn’t look like my own hair. And she had a lot of options. Curly hair, big thick hair, long hair – but most of all, she had hair that was similar to my own.”
Giblin prides herself on the quality of the hair she sells and the shop’s commitment to making each client comfortable in their new wig.
“It’s fun even if you don’t need one,” Blanton said of wig shopping at Lemonade Locks. “But when you do need [a wig], it’s a lot more important. And Kelly was here to help me with that.”
The price of each wig and hairpiece varies. But for those who are undergoing treatment, Lemonade Locks offers a significant discount. To make at least one part of a patient’s illness, a little bit easier.
Of her personal struggle with hair loss, Giblin now says, “The best thing that ever happened to me was losing my hair because I get to do this every day.”