Gold Star wife who beat cancer opens wig shop in Fayetteville to help other patients

ABC11 Together highlights the strength of the human spirit, good deeds, community needs, and how our viewers can help
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- A gold star wife who battled breast cancer is now helping fellow cancer patients. Joann Yost just opened up a wig shop but it isn't just about making women look and feel better, she's also providing them with inspiration.

Joanne Yost thought losing the love of her life in combat was hard, that was until she had to fight for her own.

"On the anniversary of his death...I was diagnosed with Stage Two breast cancer. And I thought, 'what's going to happen to my son? Is he going to live without a parent?'" said Yost.

In 2015, Yost started treatment. First a lumpectomy, followed by chemotherapy.

"I think the most terrifying thing in my life was when I sat in the chemo chair," said Yost.

But in that chair was the bravery to start a business.

"And I was telling the doctors and nurses that 'I'm going to open a wig shop,'" she said. "And the doctors were like 'yeah ok, it's the chemo brain,'" Yost laughed.

Fast forward to 2019. Perruque Boutique is thriving. It was voted business of the year and most recently business of the month.

"I sell wigs second, I help cancer patients first," said Yost.

Patient Patsy Collns agreed.

"I saw this beautiful lady here and I started telling her my story. I'm sorry I get emotional, and because we are so alike as far as our diagnosed with. It really helped me," said Collins.

Yost says helping others heal is healing for herself.

"I take every person in my life who's been through chemo and this journey very personal," said Yost.

So personal to the point where Yost skips the point of sale. At times giving away wigs to patients who can't afford them.

"That's not a way to make a living but that's not why I do this," said Yost.

Because in Perruque Boutique, no one fights alone and to live is to fight.

"I'm a survivor. I'm a gold star family member. I survived losing my husband. Cancer and I don't fear anything but a chemo chair right now," said Yost.

Next, Yost plans to start a foundation that would provide free wigs to women battling cancer.
Copyright © 2020 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.