NBC10 Boston’s Natasha Verma Puts A Cap On Cancer

NBC10 Boston Reporter and Anchor Natasha Verma has been helping women across the country, nearly 400 to be exact, from Boston to Hawaii since she was diagnosed with Stage 2 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

The native Texan is now in remission and through ‘Put a Cap on Cancer,’ her nonprofit project at Verma Foundation, raises money to give cap wigs to women and children fighting cancer. Verma believes every woman and child going through cancer treatment deserves access to a quality wig in which she can feel beautiful and confident.

Next week, she is hosting a fashion show fundraiser at Publico in Boston where the cancer patients we help will be the models.” The patients will be escorted by Boston’s favorite athletes, including Patriots Players Devin McCourty, Duron Harmon, Troy Brown and Rob Ninkovich. 100 percent of the proceeds from the event benefit the foundation giving free cap wigs made entirely of human hair available in 80 different colors to women and children battling cancer. The evening will finish off with a fashion show introducing haute styles from Lord & Taylor.

Natasha VermaPhoto Credit: Natasha Verma

We caught up recently with Verma to discuss how having had cancer has changed her entire perspective on life.

Tell us a little about the “capwalk” event being held next week and why you wanted to host the fashion show fundraiser.

About a year ago, I was diagnosed with Stage 2 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. That was just a really big shock. I went through treatment for six months and had to leave my job as reporter and anchor for NBC10 Boston to do that. It was a really difficult time for me. I couldn’t find a wig that looked like me or was comfortable. At the end of the chemo treatment, I would put a baseball cap on top of the synthetic wig I was wearing. The Verma Foundation was up and running at the time so through the foundation, we created these cap wigs that has a very soft lining inside. By creating these caps, we were able to fix those two problems of having a wig that was uncomfortable and didn’t look like the person wearing them. I didn’t realize how big a problem it was until I went through it myself.

About six months ago, I decided that I wanted to do something special for local cancer patients and model off the cap wigs to raise money for the foundation. Everyone participating in the event are all women who have just completed treatment or are currently going through treatment.  We have a six-year-old, who has leukemia and lost her hair. To think of a child going through cancer treatment is just so cruel. She’s going to be walking in the fashion show. The Patriots have been very supportive as well. I met with Duron and he donated a bunch of Patriots caps. I’m from Texas, so I reached out to the Dallas Cowboys and they donated caps as well. We also have a pro boxer from New York, Heather Hardy, who will also be there. It’s going to be a really fun night.

Have you always had an interest in fashion?

I am on TV, so I have always been interested to see how fashion evolves and changes. I love the dresses that I wear on air. Fashion is cyclical. For example, we are now seeing bell sleeves back in style. I love to play around with different styles on air.

Natasha VermaPhoto Credit: Natasha Verma

Can you tell us a little about your journey from cancer patient to cancer survivor?

People always say you become a survivor the moment you are diagnosed. Everything you do is about fighting that disease. I finished chemo on November 20 and took a couple of months after to learn to be independent again. I was in so much pain. I felt very betrayed by my body. For the first time in my life, I was knocked down and had to become dependent. It took me a month to get back into a routine of simple things like going to the store or going for a walk.

No one ever prepares you for life after cancer. I have scarring on my arms, but I don’t care. It shows that I went through something and came out stronger. I went back on the air February 1 with a wig and then decided to take it off a month later. I was very nervous about that. I had done stories on cancer, but never thought it would be me one day. Right now, I am determined to make some good out of it. When you look good, you feel better. That’s the motto of our foundation. Losing your hair can take an emotional toll on you when you are fighting for your life.

How has having had cancer changed your perspective on life?

I feel like something positive has come out of this. It gives me purpose. Having had cancer puts everything into perspective. You get an idea how short life is. I appreciate my body more. I don’t see any bad days anymore and I definitely don’t sweat the small stuff. I don’t take things for granted and feel more empathetic and appreciative of what I have.

Natasha VermaPhoto Credit: Natasha Verma