Play golf to save hair: discover the organization that helps cancer patients save their hair


Dr. Taylor Novice, Alexandra (Ali) Weitz, Madison Novice, Janet Gendelman, Dr. Karlee Novice, and Dr. Molly Powers. (Cap & Conquer)

Cap & Conquer has already funded scalp cooling for more than 70 cancer patients in Michigan and hopes to significantly exceed that number this year.

Cold caps aren’t always part of the discussion when people are diagnosed with cancer.

“The goal is to save your life,” says Janet Gendelman, 45, of West Bloomfield, one of the founders of Cape & Conquera nonprofit organization dedicated to funding cold cap therapy for Michigan cancer patients.

However, hair loss due to chemotherapy is often secondary.

Yet Gendelman, an ovarian cancer survivor, says hair loss is a devastating part of cancer treatment that can serve as a reminder of the disease long after chemotherapy has ended. Even in remission, hair loss can lead to depression and anxiety.

This is why cold capsules can be so powerful. Cold caps, or cold cap therapy, cool the scalp during chemotherapy, which reduces the amount of chemotherapy drug that reaches the hair follicles.

With less chemotherapy drugs in the hair follicles, the risk of hair loss is lower. The Mayo Clinic estimates that 66% of people who use cold caps experience hair loss of 50% or less. Although, like any treatment, it is not infallible, it can help considerably.

Break down the barriers

Despite the high success rate, Gendelman says many people don’t know scalp cooling exists. Additionally, cold caps can be very expensive and are often not covered by insurance.

Cold caps can cost between $1,000 and $4,000, depending on how many treatments a person has to undergo. Rather than covering cold cap therapy, many insurance companies will instead cover the cost of high-quality wigs, which can be just as expensive.

To help remove financial barriers to cold cap therapy and raise awareness of the treatment, Cap & Conquer raises funds throughout the year to cover the costs of cancer patients.

The nonprofit will typically cover between 25% and 100% of treatment, although Gendelman says most people the organization helps receive 100% coverage.

It’s a personal mission of the founders of Cap & Conquer, many of whom are themselves cancer survivors and members of Metro Detroit’s Jewish community.

The founding team consists of sisters Karlee, Taylor and Madison Novice; Ali Weitz; Molly Powers; and Janet Gendelman. Several volunteers also help the organization.

Yet the Cap & Conquer founders didn’t just survive cancer — they were able to save their hair during cancer treatment with the help of cold cap therapy.

“I was very lucky that my doctor told me about the cold caps,” Gendelman recalls. “But it was a matter of going to see the right doctor.”

Many people, she explains, are not so lucky. Seeing firsthand how much cold cap therapy transformed his life, Gendelman wanted to do something to “pay it forward.”

Play golf to fight hair loss

After contacting the Rapunzel Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping chemotherapy patients keep their hair down during treatment, Gendelman was put in touch with like-minded women in the Detroit metro area who shared the same goal.

From there, Cap & Conquer was born in 2020 and significantly increased its funding capacity. The nonprofit organized its first event in the midst of COVID-19, hosting a virtual 5K that raised $50,000. In 2021, he raised $137,000 on his first annual golf outing.

Now Cap & Conquer has its second annual golf outing scheduled for August 8 at Tam-O-Shanter Country Club in West Bloomfield. The one-day event begins at 11 a.m. with a shotgun start at noon. Throughout the event, attendees will play scramble golf and enjoy a putting green contest, hole-in-one challenge, skins game and more.

Golf activities will be followed by appetizers and cocktails at 5 p.m. which will include a silent auction, awards ceremony and live music. Registration is currently open and costs $250 per golfer or $125 per person for those wishing to attend the evening portion only.

Gendelman says the nonprofit is on track to beat last year’s fundraising amount.

Cap & Conquer has already funded scalp cooling for more than 70 cancer patients in Michigan and hopes to significantly exceed that number this year.

“We have seen an increase in inquiries and applications,” says Gendelman. “We know that at the end of 2022 and in 2023 we will have a greater
request.”

For more information on registration and sponsorships, visit www.capandconquer.org/golf-outing.

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