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Wiggin’ Out holds 10th Annual Gala

Sunday, April 7, 2024
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Leader photo by Cathi Cox-Boniol
Local non-profit Wiggin’ Out held its Gala fundraiser Thursday as part of its mission to help cancer patients in North Louisiana. The group Southern Charm won Best Table at the gala.

Number 13 was nothing but lucky for Wiggin’ Out Thursday night as its annual gala came roaring back to life after a prolonged hiatus due to the COVID pandemic.

“We’ve been in existence now for 13 years,” said President Vicki Caskey. “Thirteen years of providing services to people across North Louisiana. And now this is our 10th gala. It feels just too good to be back.”

Wiggin’ Out is a local non-profit that provides wigs, mustaches, headwear, lymphatic garments, prosthetic bras and gift cards to current and recently former cancer patients throughout the I-20 corridor in North Louisiana through donations and fundraising. Its goal is to help ease the financial and psychological burden for individuals fighting cancer. The annual gala is its primary means of fundraising, and this would be the first such event since 2019.

“Like everyone else, we had to shut things down in 2020 due to COVID and all that went along with it,” Caskey continued. “However, because of the success of our previous galas and the faithfulness of our donors we didn’t have to turn one person away while things were shut down. We didn’t miss providing services to even one person that applied during that time and actually served 131 patients. Plus, as an organization we made it through. Not all non-profits can say that. But we’re still here and thriving.”

Caskey said that it was time to get back to making money and the Wiggin’ Out Board was ready to return to the gala. However, the 2024 version of the event was designed to serve as a reboot of sorts for the organization.

When Wiggin’ Out first started, it focused primarily on serving the needs of female breast cancer patients. In fact, the logo featured a large, bouffant wig at its center to represent providing wigs for female patients going through treatment. Yet as time went by, the board emphasized that men were also suffering from breast cancer.

A moustache was then added to the logo. However, the logo has now evolved even further to represent the new direction Wiggin’ Out is now taking.

“There are so many people going through so many different types of cancer,” Caskey said. “And we want to be able to serve anyone that needs the help. So while our logo still has the classic Wiggin’ Out image in the middle, you will now find it surrounded by a heart made up of the different colored ribbons representing all kinds of cancer affecting men, women and children. Our footprint is expanding and we are becoming more inclusive in our services.”

Shane McVay, a Nurse Practitioner with the Green Clinic system, said he is a current patient who has “the type of cancer we may never ring the bell on.” Dealing with one of the “other” cancers, he talked about how Wiggin’ Out supported him and his family turning his treatment.

“It is phenomenal how Wiggin’ Out helps patients and their families,” McVay said. “When I actually had to take off work, Wiggin’ Out helped us financially. We received gift cards that actually made Christmas happen. We had a lot of little miracles that happened to keep us afloat and Wiggin’ Out was one of them. So tonight is really like a celebration for us.”

Caskey noted that this year’s gala was special because more men attended than ever before. For her, that marked a big leap forward while validating the rebranding for the organization.

“We are so excited about the turn out,” Caskey added. “I think we were a little nervous since it was our first time back after the break. But we couldn’t be more excited about this crowd. And I think more people really understand where we are heading with this thing. We’re here for everyone and seeing all the guys here tonight makes me realize just how important that is. But we still love the wigs. It’s so good to see all the wigs again.”