Program helps cancer patients "look good, feel better"

By: Alana Greenfogel Email
By: Alana Greenfogel Email

Many cancer patients struggle, not only with the changes happening inside their bodies, but also with what’s happening on the outside.

"The times I've been in the oncologist’s office I've seen many women come up there and it's really demeaning for these women,” says Pat Ford, a cancer survivor. “They've got caps on and scarves on and they really don't know how to go about fixing themselves up a little bit. That's what you need to do. You need to feel good about yourself and I think you can tell some of these women have just given up."

When Pat Ford from Mishawaka was 28 years old and diagnosed with cervical cancer, she says she was one of the youngest women in the country to get that diagnoses. Now in her 70’s, Pat is battling her second bout. But this time, she feels much better.

"When you've got cancer, you've got to have a positive outlook because if you don't, that's when it gets you."

Pat has joined cancer patients around the country in a program called Look Good…Feel Better. It’s a collaboration between the American Cancer Society and cosmetology agencies. Cancer patients say it changes their lives.

“I feel great!” Pat shares with a smile.

Cancer patients attend Look Good…Feel Better sessions and learn how to apply makeup and skin care products, as well as chose wigs and hairstyles. Pat, like many other cancer survivors, lost her hair decided to get a wig.

"I've had so many compliments on these two wigs!” Pat exclaims.

Pat says the program has given her a sense of confidence and beauty that is often lost when battling the disease. She’s back to bowling Friday nights with her friends and enjoying life.

“Oh, I love this game!” Pat says as she bowls a strike and high-fives friends.

Pat’s hairstylist is woman named Vicky Hicks. She’s one of a few Look Good…Feel Better coaches and is actually now training other hairstylist so they too can help their clients.

"I look at a client as, ‘You're going to beat it and I'm just giving you a way to go out and feel good about yourself during the process,’" Hicks explains.

"Being a cancer survivor myself, I know how it feels to be at your worst. I've gone to the classes of Look Good…Feel Better and it really makes you feel just great," explains Vicky Claycomb, who is a hairstylist hoping to soon help other women with cancer. "Just wearing some extra makeup really just makes a big difference in your life. You can face the world a lot better."

"It's really exciting and meaningful to be able to help somebody feel better about themselves at the hardest time of their life," says Angela Paris, who is also a hairstylist getting trained to lead the program.

At the Look Good…Feel Better sessions, participants will get free kits filled with makeup and beauty supplies, as well as wigs and headdresses.

Click here
to see a schedule of Look Good…Feel Better sessions going on all over Michiana.

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