Volunteers hold monthly workshop to help women with cancer ‘feel good, look better’

Posted at 10:28 PM, Jun 14, 2015
and last updated 2015-06-15 00:28:21-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- For women who battle cancer, the fight to beat it can have a harsh impact on their physical appearance—but a program sponsored by the American Cancer Society helps these patients look good and feel better about themselves.

The "look good, feel better” program is a two-hour workshop sponsored by the American Cancer Society for women who are battling cancer. At the workshops, trained and licensed volunteer beauty professionals teach participants about skin care, makeup techniques, and how to cope with hair loss.

“They learn how to take care of the changes that chemotherapy or even radiation therapy will cause within their skin, thing like pigmentation changes—dryness, that’s a very common side effect of the chemotherapy, plus the loss of the eyelashes and the eyebrows that sometimes occurs," said Sharon Hinckley, who is the mission delivery manager for the American Cancer Society.

Cindi Mead is a cosmetologist and volunteer who helps out at the workshops each month.

“I look forward to spending a little of my time with these beautiful ladies and sharing what little knowledge I know about my industry with them and helping them to go through, something that--a crisis that they're going through,” she said.

At the workshop, participants receive a bag of makeup from leading cosmetic companies. And, not only do women learn how to apply their makeup, they learn how to keep it germ-free.

“Using a friend's makeup and that kind of thing is not always the best thing," Mead said. "I know we try to help each other out at times, but especially at this time, they need to be selfish, they need to be able to take this kit that is donated to them and use it, and only use it for them."

The second part of the class involves dealing with hair loss, and patients learn how to tie on scarves and even how to properly put on a wig.

“Nowadays, the synthetic wigs, you can’t even tell it’s a wig,” Mead said. “They look so natural and so real. They have regrowth, they have highlights, they--you know: It looks beautiful, no one can even tell the difference.”

The workshop makes a great impact on everyone involved.

“Oh, it’s huge. It’s huge,” Hinckley said. “I have a lot of cancer patients who go through this class, and they’ll come back, and they’ll say, ‘You know, this is the one really positive thing that happened.’”

Mead said: “The satisfaction that I get at the end of the class when they hug you and they tell you thank you is priceless.”

To find a look good, feel better program in your area, visit their website.