MILWAUKEE — At just 37 years old, Rachel Becker was given the unthinkable diagnosis. She had an aggressive form of breast cancer.

“I just remember holding my husband and saying, ‘I don’t wanna die, I don’t wanna die like this,'” said Rachel Becker.

There was an even bleaker outlook.

“The type of chemo I had specifically Is known to cause permanent hair loss,” she shared.

She discovered on her own “Cold Cap Therapy” and a non-profit called Hair To Stay, which completely covered her treatments. She showed us the cap was specifically made for her.

Hooked up to a machine at the hospital, Becker’s cap reached freezing temperatures.

“You wet down your hair entirely so it remains in contact with your scalp. You do get like frost on your hair,” she said.

She gets it on before, during, and a couple of hours after both of her chemotherapy treatments, “And that’s for the chemo to get into your system and away from your hair follicles.”

She says she kept 50 percent of her hair.

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Rachel Becker

Cold cap therapy was not covered by Becker’s insurance. She says each time it would have cost her $300.

Bethany Hornthal with Hair to Stay says in most cases, they are able to cover about 80 percent of the cost for patients who qualify. Out of more than 3,900 people they have helped nationwide, about 50 are from Wisconsin. But it is not for everyone.

“The more toxic the protocol, the more difficult obviously to hang on to the hair.”

There is a federal bill in congress aimed to expand health insurance coverage for scalp cooling therapy. Something Becker supports, “Because we don’t think about the mental health impacts of cancer as much as the physical impacts of it and hair loss takes a huge toll on a lot of people mentally.”

Today, she is cancer free and her hair is growing back. She tells us, “It’s very curly. I didn’t have curly hair before.”

She says she has a new outlook to live her life to the fullest and hopefully give back one day.

If you would like to learn more about the non-profit Hair to Stay and how to qualify, visit HairToStay.org. To learn how to donate, check out their website. Every $1,000 raised will completely cover one cancer patient’s treatment.

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