American Cancer Society’s Beauty-Oriented Program

It’s that time of year again. Events held all across the country to raise support and awareness, survivors rallying with their family and friends, local communities coming together to let their inner pink shine—You’ve probably guessed by now that I am referring to Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

For a long while I’ve been blissfully ignorant to the life-altering realities of breast cancer, having only known one person who ever was diagnosed with it. She was a very strong survivor though, and was genuinely happy in life, so the disease never quite struck me as a powerful threat. Unaware though I was, I was always happy to support every October, and was overjoyed when it was decided that SOHO Lashes would be taking part in Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

It wasn’t until I truly began to research for the business blog that I was hit with a crashing realization that I am terrified of breast cancer. I’m sure that, until you’ve been diagnosed and batlled through it yourself, you will never fully be able to wrap your head around what it must be like. How it must feel. But one can certainly imagine.

Cancer in and of itself is a very scary thing. The word alone is enough to send chills down your spine, especially if the deadly six-letter word is uttered by your doctor or physician. Breast cancer is unique from other cancers in the respect that, in the event you survive the cancer, you may have gained your survival in the loss of a huge part of your womanhood, and this is something that you may not get back. Women deal with enough appearance issues as it stands, and to receive such a blow as a massectomy must really compromise a woman’s self-esteem and overall sense of femininity.

There are a lot of things one can do to cope with the many changes that come with breast cancer, and what may work for each individual varies. SOHO client and breast cancer survivor K.M. believes that for spirits to be high in this trying time, “You need lots of laughter.”

What of those who need a confidence boost, after the hair loss, possible breast loss, and other physical changes? A couple of our SOHO clients tipped us off to a wonderful program designed to lift the spirits of cancer patients by teaching them to adjust to and conquer any appearance-related side effects.

Look Good, Feel Better is a program sponsored by the American Cancer Society offering a free, one-time lesson each month on average, discussing makeup, head coverings, skin care, and general preparation to combat the changes a cancer patient faces in lieu of chemotherapy and radiation. The American Cancer Society funds this program collaboratively with the Professional Beauty Association and the National Cosmetology Association, with products provided by the Personal Care Product Council.

“As a woman, hair and makeup and is such a part of you. And while I was initially more concerned about making it through when I was first diagnosed, after that initial shock wore off, it was nice knowing that something could be done to help you look good through that period of time,” said K.M. of her experience during treatment.

On a national level the program is fairly successful, with Jeff of the American Cancer Society attributiting the turnout rate to the “Professionalism of the instructors, the small and personable group format, the support system within the group, and the complimentary makeup kits that the patients go home with.” Jeff also notes that the program is successful in that it “serves its purpose of improving one’s self-image and quality of life during such a body-transforming time.”

There are 9 total locations in the Hampton Roads area, bringing together women from all walks of life. Upon arrival, K.M. observed that “The women there were all different ages and nationalities, all in different stages of treatment. We were a very diverse group, all brought together with this one common thing, and that was cancer.”

Anyone interested in volunteering must be a licensed cosmetologist. To all women currently fighting the battle against cancer, and to those who have overcome it, we commend you for your strength in such a trying time. To the sponsors and volunteers of the Look Good, Feel Better program, we tip our hats off to you for such a wonderful way of lifting cancer patients’ spirits when they need it the most, and hopefully there will be many more good things to come in propelling the program further and ultimately prevailing in finding the cure for breast cancer.

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