“It is an affirmation of life.”
There may be no better phrase to express the power of Look Good Feel Better to people living through cancer, the communities that love and support them and the volunteers and partners that make the program possible.
As part of its “More Than Makeup” initiative, Look Good Feel Better gathered six women to experience a workshop led by Rudy Miles, Look Good Feel Better Volunteer Area Trainer, and Yota Batsaras, Look Good Feel Better Volunteer National Trainer. Together, these women and volunteers shared and bonded, learned and grew stronger. They surpassed the boundaries of age, background and culture to come together as a caring community.
Like women all around the world, Mary, Susanne, Maria, Linda L., Linda P. and Shelly are reticent at first. Ranging in age from 27 to 70, with a broad diversity of backgrounds, and all living through their own personal battle with cancer, one might assume they have little in common.
But they all feel the isolation that comes with cancer. They have all experienced the impact of this disease and their treatment to significantly alter their appearance. They all have struggled with confidence, control and the strength to fight back.
And then it all changes. Soon they are sharing. They are smiling. They are learning that they have the tools to take back control. That in a life that is no longer normal, they have the ability to feel normal when they look in the mirror.
While their workshop focused on makeup, wigs, turbans and styling, their experience was about so much more. Here are some perspectives from the Look Good Feel Better program graduates and volunteers:
Yota Batsaras, Look Good Feel Better Volunteer National Trainer
“Volunteering for Look Good Feel Better is a way to make the world a better place. Doing good has a butterfly effect: If I treat someone nicely and do something nice for someone else, they feel better, they feel stronger and they are probably going to do the same for someone else.”
Mary, Workshop Participant
“You shrink back a little bit when you have cancer. You don’t want to be seen. After my Look Good Feel Better workshop, I was more willing to come out instead of hiding. I felt more courageous to face my battles.”
Suzanne, Workshop Participant
“When you are going through treatment, so much of your life is non-stop cancer. To have a piece of normalcy. To be able to feel the compassion and beauty and not have it be all about cancer – but about you as an individual – is what makes Look Good Feel Better so special. It’s not about cancer. It’s about you.”
Maria, Workshop Participant
“When you are diagnosed with cancer, you go immediately into survival mode. You will do whatever it takes to outlive cancer. Cancer treatment can be very isolating. You look in the mirror and you see someone else. Look Good Feel Better lets you connect with others who really understand what you are going through.”
Linda L., Workshop Participant
“I had to explain to my kids why my hair was falling out. I wanted them to know that it was OK. That it would grow back. Because if any of them ever have to face cancer too, I need them to know that they will be OK, just like mommy.”
Rudy Miles, Look Good Feel Better Volunteer Area Trainer
“Look Good Feel Better is an affirmation of life. You see women come into the workshop feeling a certain way and there is something that happens in those two hours of connection that transforms them. They light up. I am sure I get back from this program much more than I give.”
Linda P., Workshop Participant
“When I lost my eyelashes and eyebrows to chemotherapy, I felt that I looked really sick for the first time. You really need them. Look Good Feel Better lets you take charge of something at a time in your life where you have no control. It may seem like something small. But it really is much greater than you can imagine.”
Shelly, Workshop Participant
“When I was first diagnosed, I thought cancer was a death sentence. I’ve learned so much since then. I’ve grown so much. I am a different person. Look Good Feel Better has shown me that there is life after cancer. Today, if I didn’t tell you that I had cancer, you would never know.”
For nearly three decades, Look Good Feel Better® has been dedicated to helping people with cancer cope with the appearance related side effects of their treatment. Since 1989, the program has empowered nearly 1 million women in the United States to reclaim the sense of control, confidence and self-esteem that are so central to wellbeing. Look Good Feel Better offers complimentary group, individual and online beauty sessions that include lessons on skin and nail care, cosmetics, wigs and turbans, accessories and styling to help people with cancer face their diagnosis with greater confidence. For more information, visit lookgoodfeelbetter.org.
The Look Good Feel Better program in the United States is made possible through a collaboration of the Look Good Feel Better Foundation, the American Cancer Society and the Professional Beauty Association.