Workshop helps revitalise hope

LISA KNIGHT
Last updated 12:00 09/07/2014

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Putting smiles on the faces of women with cancer was the aim of a Look Good, Feel Better workshop, which started Feel Better Month in Manawatu.

Women undergoing cancer treatment are invited to attend the workshops, which are held every six weeks at the Cancer Society's Addis House in Palmerston North, to bestyled by a makeup artist, try on wigs and turbans, or have their hair styled.

Melanie Lucas was diagnosed with Burkitt's lymphoma, an aggressive and rare form of cancer, in her bowel late last year.

She described her nine weeks of intense chemotherapy as "hell" and after losing her beloved long hair within the first two weeks, she struggled with her identity as a woman.

Attending yesterday's workshop had been fantastic, Lucas said.

"When you're going through treatment you do feel ugly and unattractive and it's hard enough going through it all at the same time.

"You really do need to feel good while going through it. It's hard enough just being a woman, and not feeling like a woman was the hardest thing."

Manawatu Look Good, Feel Better tutor Kris Gilmour said the workshops were to help give the women some confidence, and the feedback had been "amazing".

"For the women, if they lose their hair and eyebrows they can feel they've lost their identity.

"The nurses and doctors do the inside work and this is something we can do on the outside to make them feel good and give them self-esteem to get back out in the world."

Some of the volunteers had cancer 20 years ago, which gave the women a bit of faith, Gilmour said.

Lucas said as a beauty therapist herself she would love to come back to the workshop as a volunteer in the future.

"I feel great now. There's all this support and help, it's just amazing."

Look Good, Feel Better general manager Clare O'Higgins said Feel Better Month was to raise awareness and funds for the charity, but also to spread a message of positivity and confidence.

To support Feel Better Month, Farmers will make a donation to Look Good, Feel Better with the purchase of selected makeup items.

For more information visit lgfb.co.nz.

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- Manawatu Standard

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