|Program helps women cancer patients feel better about themselves|
|Written by TARA KELLER Sentinel Staff Writer|
|Wednesday, 09 October 2013 10:12|
With the help of some special makeup products and equally special cosmetologists, the Look Good, Feel Better program gives patients back the gift of normalcy.
"Most women feel like they want to put their best look forward, and during cancer treatment, they can feel less womanish," said Dot Downing-Wuest, manager of Wellness Services at the Wood County Hospital where the program is hosted. "Using this information makes them feel human again."
Downing-Wuest, along with the American Cancer Society, presented this information for about seven women on Sept. 26, with another presentation planned for Nov. 14.
Because many cancer treatments can lead to dry skin, discoloration and hair loss, the Look Good, Feel Better program teaches women some makeup tricks to help them put that best look forward.
The participants are given a free full makeup kit that includes cleanser, powder and blush.
All products are specifically made for sensitive skin and are donated by top makeup brands like CoverGirl, Mary Kay and Estée Lauder.
"When we look good, we feel better, regardless if we have cancer or not," said Josie Lirot, coordinator of Wood County's Look Good, Feel Better. "The program helps women in cancer treatment feel feminine, beautiful and empowered."
To achieve this sense of empowerment, licensed cosmetologists are on hand to share their professional tricks.
They teach women who suffered from hair loss to use makeup to draw in their eyebrows and to use moisturizer to treat radiation-burned skin.
Cosmetologist Kylee Hanhold heard about the program through a friend of hers about five or six years ago and has been volunteering ever since.
"Everybody knows somebody who has gone through cancer," Hanhold said. "After the program, I go home and I feel like I got more out of it than they did."
Aside from the makeup tricks, Hanhold also teaches the women some head scarf techniques if the women have less hair than they're used to.
"Everything we do helps them look refreshed and natural," Hanhold said. "They feel good. It just lifts them up."
These makeup sessions also make a good environment for the women to bond over their treatment and new beauty tips.
"It turns into a mini support group," Lirot said. "Sometimes the women all go out together afterwards."
The programs are hosted periodically throughout the year to give women the chance to attend at least one session.
"The hospital is also close for the women of Wood County, and the idea is that they don't have to travel so far," Downing-Wuest said. "They get here and the point of class is to help them feel not alone."
That ability to help cancer patients not feel alone and to help them regain their natural beauty is Lirot's favorite part of the program and the part she endorses the most.
"Women usually walk in very quiet and subdued, not sure what to expect," Lirot said. "By time the program is over, the room is filled with laughter and there is just a sense that things will get better."
For more information about the Feel Good, Look Better program, contact the American Cancer Society at (888) 227-6446.
Click the link below for a feature story on Jayne Eisel and her battle with cancer:
Eisel won't shed any tears
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