“Look Good, Feel Better” new program at Oaklawn Oncology Clinic

Photo Caption: Volunteer cosmetologists, Linda Riegle (left) and Chelsea Damron conducted the first “Look Good, Feel Better” session at the Oaklawn Oncology Clinic.  Looking good and feeling better are patients Sherry Williamson (left) and Dora Fraley.

     “Look Good, Feel Better” (LGFB) is a free new program now being offered at Oaklawn Hospital’s Oncology Clinic to help women offset appearance-related changes from cancer treatment.   Licensed cosmetologist volunteers conduct a hands-on workshop at the hospital the fourth Tuesday of every month from 2:00-4:00pm. The group sessions include skin care/make-up application and demonstrations of options for dealing with hair loss and nail care techniques.

LGFB is a national program that got its start in 1987 with one patient.  A physician sought advice from Ed Kavanaugh, a former president of the Personal Care Products Council, on how to get a “make-over” for a woman in cancer treatment experiencing appearance-related side effects.  The woman was so depressed and self-conscious she would not venture outside her hospital room.  Kavanaugh made a few calls and was able to provide cosmetics and a make-up artist.  The doctor found that the make-over produced dramatic results, not only in the woman’s appearance, but also in her attitude and emotional approach toward her treatment.

After learning of the profound result, Kavanaugh presented the idea for a national program to the Personal Care Products Council, the nation’s cosmetic industry leaders, who immediately offered funding and cosmetics.  The American Cancer Society enthusiastically embraced the effort, providing a national network to assist in delivering the program to patients.  Lastly, the National Cosmetology Association signed on as a third partner, encouraging its members to volunteer their services.

The program is open to any woman undergoing cancer treatment.  First time attendees receive a complimentary cosmetic kit, which they can bring with them should they want to attend further sessions.  Generally the groups range from three to six ladies, offering each patient a supportive circle, as well.  “We only had two participants for our first session,” said Oaklawn Oncology Clinical Director Deanna Bitner, “but we think this will become a popular program.”

This marks the second free program this summer that Oaklawn has partnered with the American Cancer Society on.  In July the clinic started up a twice-a-week Resource Center staffed with ACS volunteers who can work with cancer patients and loved ones on issues such as transportation to treatment, help with financial and insurance questions, and offer information on clinical trials, cancer education, and support groups.  The hours of this service are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10am to 2pm.

For additional information call the Oaklawn Oncology Clinic at (269) 789-3940 or the American Cancer Society at (800) 227-2345.

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