CTPA Annual Report 2012 - page 24

Look Good Feel Better: Our Story
Cathy was 35 when she received her cancer diagnosis. After the initial shock, the way her treatment might affect her physical
appearance weighed heavily on her mind. “I was being told I was facing a life-threatening illness, but inside I was as much
overwhelmed by the thought of losing my hair as I was by the illness itself”.
Undergoing chemotherapy was a struggle physically and emotionally. Cathy avoided mirrors as gradually she “lost her normal
self”. Even with the support of family and friends, she felt alone and isolated in the experience she was going through.
Cathy was told about a charity called Look Good Feel Better (LGFB) by her Macmillan counsellor and went to a free skincare and
make-up workshop at her local hospital. During the session expert volunteer beauty consultants took her and 11 other women
through a 12-step plan for skin care and make-up, using a gift bag of donated products for her to use and then enjoy at home.
Cathy found the experience a huge boost at a low point in her treatment. “Cancer can take away your self-confidence and
sense of identity. The workshop made me feel ‘normal’ for the first time in many months and I was surprised to find how much
laughter there was during the afternoon”.
A unique service
Cathy’s struggle in undergoing treatment is shared by
thousands of women. More than one in three people in
the UK will develop some form of cancer during their lifetime.
Essential medical work tackles prevention, treatment and
care. Look Good Feel Better’s unique offering was created
to complement this by specifically tackling the visible
side-effects of cancer treatment.
These side-effects – such as loss of hair, eyebrows and
eyelashes or changes in skin texture and sensitivity -
may seem insignificant in the face of treating a
life-threatening disease and can be overlooked by very
busy medical professionals. Yet we know that they can
have a significant impact on self-esteem and ultimately
the strength and determination to overcome the difficulties
of the treatment itself.
Responding to increasing demand
Executive Director, Sarahjane Robertson says: “LGFB has
come a long way in its 19 year history with 70 locations
across the UK and 25 countries worldwide. The charity was
set up by the cosmetic, toiletry and perfumery industry
and operates with the support of over 40 companies.
As the industry’s charity we have an ambitious goal to
reach 50% of women newly diagnosed with cancer.
We are determined to reach out and support more women,
of all ages, with all types of cancer”.
“The whole experience was outstanding. It’s not just about
a bit of make-up, it’s not vanity - it’s about control. It gives
women the strength to fight this horrible disease.”
LGFB Beneficiary
“LGFB provides an opportunity for patients to
feel more confident in their appearance.
The vulnerability of being a cancer patient is
far more extensive than you realise until you’re
there. Being able to improve on that vulnerability
has a huge impact.”
Professor Hilary Thomas,
Oncologist and LGFB Beneficiary
“I’ve never attended a workshop or support group
before, so felt it might not be for me, particularly
as I was very depressed at the time, but LGFB lifted
me out of my depression. It made me feel like a
woman again. I didn’t feel isolated anymore;
I felt less ‘branded’ and ugly.”
LGFB Beneficiary
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