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JEANIE THOMPSON AND JANIE MARTZ

Aitkin, Minn.

Marilyn Hollenback had just been diagnosed with colon cancer last winter, and she had a lot on her mind. One thing she didn't have to worry about: her hair. When it fell out, Jeanie Thompson and Janie Martz, 57, identical twins and co-owners of the Jeanie & Co. salon, welcomed her for a wig fitting. "I put it on," says Hollenback, 79, of the blonde bob hairpiece, "and I just felt amazing."

Since 1996 the sisters have given some 800 wigs to Central Minnesota cancer patients-all in honor of their mother, Ruth, who died of pancreatic cancer at age 73. Buying new and collecting donated wigs through their nonprofit Ruth's Free Wig Closet (ruthsfreewigcloset.org), "they help patients feel normal," says Marian Foehrenbacher of the Brainerd Lakes Cancer Center. Says Martz: "It gives them some power. They're so down when they come in and so happy when they go. If you can help someone feel better, why wouldn't you?"

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