Look Good Feel Better is the charity that's boosting the confidence of cancer patients 2 years ago

Look Good Feel Better is the charity that's boosting the confidence of cancer patients

They do amazing work!

Finding out you have cancer can be daunting and life-changing and the added stress of the appearance related side effects of treatment can be demoralising and very hard to cope with.

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This can have serious consequences on self-esteem and confidence at a time when a positive attitude is very important.

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In 1987, a doctor asked the former President of the Personal Care Products Council, Ed Kavanaugh, how he could organise a "makeover" for a woman in cancer treatment who was experiencing dramatic appearance side effects.

Kavanaugh made some calls and was able to provide cosmetics and a cosmetologist – and the makeover transformed not only the woman’s look, but also her outlook. She was happier, less burdened and laughed for the first time in weeks.

It was this one makeover that launched Look Good Feel Better, a charity that helps women with cancer maintain their confidence and self-esteem.

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In Ireland, Look Good Feel Better was launched in 2003 as a programme managed by the Irish Cancer Society.

Since then, it has gone from strength to strength, and was was re-established in 2013 by the Irish Cosmetic & Detergent Association (ICDA) as a registered charity.

The Charity is run by a Board and two wonderful staff members, Annabel O'Keeffe and Margaret Heffernan.

I had the the honour of chatting to Annabel recently, and she gave me the low down on everything I should know about Look Good Feel Better.

Speaking about the goal of the charity, Annabel said:

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"I read a stat somewhere that 70% of women that are diagnosed with cancer ask the question 'will I lose my hair?'"

 

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Jane McCarthy told us her beautiful story: My name is Jane and I am 42 years old. I live in Dublin with my husband, Kieran, and my son Cian (22) and my cockapoo, Lucas ?. I am so lucky too to have such an amazing close-knit family. I also have a wonderful group of friends who are so supportive. So life is pretty good ❤️? One of my sisters, Linda, was diagnosed with breast cancer a year before me in Nov 2017. She has travelled her own cancer journey with such positivity, courage and strength. She’s a true inspiration ❤️ ? Pre-diagnosis, I was working away, enjoying my job, loved keeping fit and running, I went back to college at night and studied for my Masters, moved house too, enjoying family life, my sister was finishing her cancer treatment and life was wonderful again and ticking along nicely. On the 25th October 2018 I found a lump in my right breast. It was quite big so thought perhaps I had injured or bumped myself. I showed my husband and he was shocked and said get it checked out straight away. It was like it literally appeared overnight as I often checked myself. I went to GP who referred me as an urgent case to Beaumont hospital. She even asked me to hand deliver the letter- so she was probably quite concerned too. My apt was on the 9th Nov 2018 - where i got a mammo, ultrasound and biopsies. I went to the apt on my own as I didn’t think anything was wrong, had even planned to go back to work after the appointment! Read more of Jane's story in the link in the bio #lookgoodfeelbetterireland #cancer #morethanmakeup #beauty #selfesteem #selfconfidence ❤️?❤️?❤️?❤️?

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"It seems frivolous, but Look Good Feel Better is all about self care, and regaining self esteem. This is nothing to do with vanity."

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"During our workshops, a trained makeup artist will show women how to work with their eyebrows, eyebrows and loss of hair."

Annabel likens makeup to protective armour, and it allows the women going through cancer treatment to feel strong.

"Our service to date has provided support to nearly 10,000 patients with the support of over 20 leading companies and brands from the Beauty Industry."

Everyone that takes part in a workshop also leaves with a goodie bag of makeup that will allow them to recreate the looks they learned to do.

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"​Our vision is that the Look Good Feel Better programme be an integral part of cancer care in Ireland supporting women with cancer."

"We want to help improve the well being and confidence of women undergoing treatment for any type of cancer."

"We do this by providing free Look Good Feel Better workshops and advice to help manage the visible side-effects caused by cancer and its treatment."

The Look Good Feel Better programme is currently operating in the following hospitals: Beaumont Hospital, The Mater Hospital, St. James’s Hospital, St. Lukes Hospital, Tallaght Hospital, Cork University Hospital, Letterkenny General Hospital, Limerick University Hospital, Galway University Hospital, Waterford University Hospital. Sligo University Hospital, Kerry University Hospital.

Cancer can rob a woman of her energy and strength but with the support of Look Good Feel Better it need not take away her self-confidence.