Look Good Feel Better
When I first joined Twitter more than a decade ago, I remember deciding to spotlight Breast Cancer Awareness Month with a special blog giveaway. I had two sets of exactly the same makeup and skincare products and I asked followers “Who would you surprise with a Pink Ribbon gift set?” (The prize was one set to surprise someone with and one set to keep for yourself) The response was overwhelming the moment the giveaway went live. So many people from all walks of life shared the most heartwarming and heartbreaking stories. I cried several times reading their stories. And while I knew cancer affected one-in-ten families, I had no idea how prevalent it had become. So many people I had met on Twitter were secretly dealing with cancers of all types. They were going for regular chemo sessions and trying to deal with both the physical and psychological effects of this terrible disease. There was a wonderful woman in the U.K. who told me I was the only person who knew she was battling cancer. She didn’t tell her husband or family as she was the one who kept the family together. I would check in with her most days and try to make her laugh. Thankfully she is a survivor. I can’t believe she went through treatment for months alone without the support of friends of family.
Following this experience, I had such a renewed respect for the Look Good Feel Better charity, a not-for-profit that helps people deal with the appearance-related effects of cancer and cancer treatment
“We know how important it is to simply feel like yourself, especially when you are going through cancer treatment,” says the organization. “At Look Good Feel Better workshops, both in-person and online, people with cancer can learn how to manage the appearance-related impact of cancer and its treatment. Offering a unique sense of community, participants become part of a small group, with different cancer diagnoses and going through different treatments, who come together to learn and share.”
“This is the best part of what I do,” explains UK-based makeup artist Nina Westbury, a Look Good Feel Better volunteer. “Makeup can give us super powers when you need them most. I’m hoping to some virtual workshops in the new year so I can help even more women.”
Nina and volunteers like her teach women and teens how to care for sensitive skin, how to manage the loss of brows and lashes, techniques to add colour back onto the face, beauty hygiene and sun safety. Teens can take part in programs specially designed for them including skincare, on-trend makeup and fun styles for caps, wraps and hair alternatives. There are even sessions for men on how to manage dry, flaky skin, minimize shaving irritation and how to deal with hair loss. The Canadian branch of LGFB reaches over 10,000 women each year.
“The best medicine doesn’t always come in a bottle.”
LGFB helps address the emotional and psychological aspects of cancer and its treatment. The emotional trauma and fall-out from cancer is often overlooked. And these workshops aim to give women the tools and techniques to feel beautiful and vital, to help restore a sense of self and a feeling of womanhood.
Look Good Feel Better programs can now be found in 26 countries around the world – each operating independently but with the same goal: to help women with cancer.
Singapore, Sweden, Uraguay, Chile, The Netherlands and South Africa to name a few.
During the month of November, purchase a Clarins Lip Comfort Oil in shade “Lovely Rose” at Shoppers Drug Mart or shoppersdrugmart.ca and the French beauty brand will donate $5 to Look Good Feel Better in Canada. It’s a wonderful way to show your support.
If you are battling cancer or have a family member or friend in this situation, visit LGFB.ca for more information on workshops, support services and resources.