Presbyterian launches cosmetic program for cancer patients
Presbyterian Hospital is teaming up with the American Cancer Society to help boost the confidence and wellbeing of area women fighting cancer.
The hospital recently hosted the first in a series of “Look Good … Feel Better” sessions. Registrations are now being accepted for the next sessions, Sept. 19 and Nov. 21. from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
The program reaches out to cancer patients – and those who have recently gone into remission – by teaching them beauty techniques to cope with the lingering cosmetic side effects caused by treatments. During the session, professional cosmetologists offer hair and makeup tips specifically geared toward cancer patients. The attendants also receive complimentary makeup kits with products to match their skin tone and have the opportunity to try on wigs and borrow them for free.
Look Good … Feel Better was started by the American Cancer Society in 1987. The Matthews hospital is the third site affiliated with Presbyterian Healthcare and the eighth location in the area.
Presbyterian Healthcare started its first program several years ago at the Buddy Kemp Cancer Support Center in Charlotte and recently opened another location in Huntersville. Both sites offer sessions on scheduled weekdays.
The Matthews site, which hosts Tuesday programs, was chosen to draw patients from this area and to offer evening classes for working professionals.
“We want to make this program as convenient as we can. Many cancer survivors go back to work quickly,” said Marcia Lampert, manager of the Buddy Kemp Cancer Support Center.
The American Cancer Society works closely with other organizations to ensure that the attendants receive quality products and services. The Personal Care Products Council Foundation helps collect donations of makeup from brand name companies, while the National Cosmetology Association and the Professional Beauty Association work to recruit and train licensed cosmetologists who serve as volunteer instructors for the program.
“Beauticians interested in this program go through a four-hour training session. Treatment can affect bodies in different ways, so the volunteers learn about this and how to talk to the patients and relate to them,” said LeeAnna Perry, missions delivery manager for the American Cancer Society in Charlotte.
In addition to beauty tips, the program also teaches the importance of hygiene when applying makeup and how to stay safe and healthy throughout treatment.
“Woven into the class is a critical piece on how to keep the brushes and makeup from becoming contaminated. These woman are at a very vulnerable time, and this is a special type of makeover geared toward special (situations),” Lampert said.
Nidia Hinchey, was one of those cases. Diagnosed with cancer in November 2010, Hinchey endured some of the appearance-related effects of her treatments. Hinchey was invited to attend a Look Good…Feel Better session in March. A little hesitant, Hinchey attended the program and was surprised to find it both informative and uplifting.
“The first 15 minutes were kind of like the first day of kindergarten. But then when they said, ‘Okay, take off your wigs and hats,’ we all became equals. It was amazing how close we became in those two hours,” Hinchey said.
Through Look Good…Feel Better, Hinchey learned tips and received products that she has used throughout her treatment. In her makeup kit, she received a skin cream called Aquaphor, made by Eucerin, that has greatly helped relieve the burning effects of her radiation treatment.
She has also found the hygiene tips helpful.
“I was guided on how to apply makeup without contaminating my skin. You learn a lot about things you should not do when you’re going through chemo,” she said.
The goal for the program is to not only help the women cosmetically, but to empower them to fight as well.
“The mission (of the American Cancer Society) is to help people get well, stay well, find cures, and fight back. Look Good…Feel Better is part of that mission,” Perry said.
For Hinchey, the program was life-changing.
“I would advise anybody diagnosed with cancer to go and have that experience,” she said. “It is educational and empowering and helps you to say, ‘I can do this.’ It was a good step on our road to recovery, and I really, really wish that more people would know about this program.”
Want to go?
Area female cancer patients can attend a Look Good…Feel Better session Sept. 19 or Nov. 21 from 6:30 until 8:30 p.m. at Presbyterian Hospital Matthews. Advanced registration is required.
For more information or to register, call 704-384-5223.