Meet the people who are making lives a little brighter.
Insecurities, we all have em’. Whether it’s our thighs, our frizzy hair or our big nose. Humans are known to be critical about themselves. But some people have bigger problems to deal with, like loss of hair (imagine having no eyebrows), skin so sensitive that the smallest amounts of bacteria can cause infections, and simply not having the energy to get out of bed. These women are suffering from cancer – as if everything else about cancer wasn’t enough to struggle with.
According to Cancer Australia, about one in three Australian women will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives. We all know the side effects of cancer treatments such as loss of appetite, mouth sores and nausea, but one that people rarely think about is the emotional side effects that come when cancer affects your appearance so much. It might not seem like much when you think of the big picture, but as Heather, a cancer sufferer says, “I felt at one stage that I was never going to have fun again, that was it. I thought I lost my sense of humour.”
Thankfully there are organisations out there working towards making these women’s journey a little easier. One of these programs is “Look Good… Feel Better.”
Look Good… Feel Better is a free national community service program that helps to improve the wellbeing and confidence of people undergoing treatment for any sort of cancer. They run workshops on skincare, makeup, wigs and head coverings to help patients deal with the physical side-effects of cancer.
Everyone who attends is also given products to use. “Each participant receives a Confidence Kit, full of products generously donated by the Australian cosmetic industry, and has access to advice and assistance from our trained volunteers,” says Maya Zahran, PR and Communications Manager for Look Good…Feel Better.
While the cosmetic industry has donated more than $2.5 million in the form of makeup products, they aren’t actually allowed to promote their products or brand. “Our workshops are absolutely brand-neutral. We rely heavily on the support of the Australian cosmetic industry who, last year, donated more than 100,000 units of skincare and makeup to the program,” she continued.
Brands such as Pantene have also lent a helping hand with their Beautiful Lengths campaign, which helps donate human hair for making wigs. The campaign is in partnership with Look Good…Feel Better and inspires women to grow out their hair, cut it, and donate it to create wigs for cancer patients. Procter and Gamble – owners of Pantene – spokesperson, Lisa Cunningham told scoop.co.nz “We launched Pantene Beautiful Lengths to provide a source of comfort, happiness and inspiration to women battling cancer”.
“I think one the best things about the workshop was, that you get to mix with a whole lot of other women who have cancer and are in the same situation as you, and that is a bit of a mind opener, because you think ‘Oh wow, I’m not alone’, so I did come out feeling like a better person again, and feeling more like myself when I’d gone in,” says Heather.
Anyone who is suffering from any form of cancer is eligible to take part in the Look Good… Feel Better workshops, which are currently being hosted in 180 locations around Australia.
Along with all the help they receive from the cosmetic industry, Look Good…Feel Better is also made possible through volunteers, who help make cancer patients lives a little brighter. “The Look Good… Feel Better workshops are delivered by our trained and certified volunteers, all of whom have beauty or cosmetic industry experience, we also welcome others who may wish to volunteer in other roles,” says Maya.
If you would like to know more information on donating or volunteering, then please visit the Look Good… Feel Better website. – Basmah Qazi
Top photo from the Look Good… Feel Better website.