A bout with breast cancer inspired a Palmerston North woman to volunteer her time to belles, beauty and battling cancer.
During Breast Cancer Awareness Month in 2006, Lesley Drury, 53, read a magazine article on self-checks and thought she'd do one.
She felt a lump and knew something wasn't quite right.
Three weeks later she was booked in for a mastectomy.
Since then the mother of three has undergone chemotherapy, the removal of her left breast, its reconstruction and come out as a survivor.
"My philosophy during my little journey was I've just got to get on with it . . . it's just something that's happened and I've got to work my way through it and, thankfully, I've come out the other side," Mrs Drury said.
During her treatment phase, she attended a Look Good Feel Better workshop - an initiative which offers cancer patients guidance, advice and hands-on experience in applying makeup and wearing hair accessories.
She has since joined the ranks of volunteers running the Manawatu branch of the national charity.
Look Good Feel Better teams with organisations from around the region and the country to provide the free services for cancer patients.
For Mrs Drury, who is a qualified beauty therapist, it was an opportunity to give back to the community.
"It is very close to my heart and I love doing it."
She is now the Manawatu's Look Good Feel Better tutor and takes care of 20 volunteers who help run workshops at the Cancer Society rooms every six weeks.
Women who attend get pampered, preened and enjoy having their faces cleansed, toned, moisturised and massaged.
Mrs Drury gives first-hand tips on the side-effects of cancer treatment, such as flaking skin and pigmentation changes, and then participants get a skincare lesson.
There were multiple benefits for women who attended, Mrs Drury said.
They each received a skincare pack worth more than $300 to take home and they met other women taking a positive outlook on their situations.
"If you can put on a bit of lippy and a bit of mascara, it just gives you a bit of a boost.
"[The whole experience] is morale-boosting; it gives patients a sense of self and it makes them feel a little bit more in control."
Masterton woman Jennifer Jury, 82, who moved into the Ozanam House accommodation for cancer patients two weeks ago, said the workshop was a great idea.
For her, cancer was a hiccup in life that she was taking in her stride.
"There's no point getting your knickers in a twist over it. You just take the bad with the good in this life."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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