The Look Good Feel Better Blog
Last week, we introduced you to Look Good Feel Better’s partnership with Fashion Project, an online retailer where your clothing donations and purchases give back to Look Good Feel Better. This week, we want to share a personal story by Paige Smith, Fashion Project Stylist, about Paige’s mother’s experience with the program, as we honor mothers this month.
True confession: I love makeup. It amazes me what a few brush strokes of blush, a little mascara, and a sassy lip color can do to a woman’s appearance and more importantly, her self-esteem. I know that I personally sometimes wake up in the morning resembling the Loch Ness Monster. After some foundation, bronzer, and a little cheek highlighter, I magically transform into a fresh-faced beauty ready to seize the day. Makeup makes me look good and as a result, I feel good.
My mom is to blame for my makeup obsession. At a young age, she taught me to always take the time to look and feel fabulous, even if it entails wearing lipstick while relaxing in a pair of sweats and an oversized t-shirt. Before my mom was diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer, makeup to me was fun, sometimes necessary, but always relatively superficial. Now its value has forever transformed in my eyes. Today I view it as a way to help women see the light at the end of the tunnel during a time of pain, weakness and insecurity.
Pre-cancer, my mom was a pro at what she likes to call, “putting her face on” and could do so in a short amount of time. As she started her radiation and chemo treatments, her daily process became increasingly longer and more frustrating. She hated how her body reacted to treatments and all of the medications, but refused to look like the frail, weak cancer patient she sometimes felt on the inside. Realizing she needed a little support, my mom quickly introduced herself to Look Good Feel Better, and reawakened her sense of inner and outer beauty.
Look Good Feel Better is a non-medical, brand-neutral public service program that teaches various beauty techniques to cancer patients to help them manage the appearance-related side effects of cancer treatment. Through the program, my mom received a variety of makeup and beauty products from designer brands. One of her favorite things from Look Good Feel Better was an eyebrow kit that included stencils, brushes and brow pencils that helped create the perfect fake eyebrow. Not only did my mom’s eyebrows look pristine, but they did not smudge, flake, or melt away!
Women all over the United States have chosen Look Good Feel Better to help them through their battle with breast cancer (as well as many other forms of cancer), all while looking gorgeous at the same time! Approximately 950,000 women suffering from cancer participate in Look Good Feel Better in the United States. Each year, companies affiliated with the Personal Care Products Council donate approximately one million individual products (valued at about $12.5 million).
This wonderful organization gave my mom the strength to kick her cancer in the butt, by simply making her feel beautiful again. At the end of the day, everyone, healthy or sick, is entitled to feel beautiful. I want to personally give Look Good Feel Better a huge thank you for making my mom and myself feel like we can run the world each and every day!
To support Look Good Feel Better’s mission and women, like my mom, click to donate your clothing, shoes and accessories. Together we can make fashion a force for confidence!
-Paige Smith, Fashion Project Stylist
Republished with permission from http://blog.fashionproject.com/why-we-do-it
Look Good Feel Better Week, April 26 – May 2, 2015, has always been a time when we work to create heightened awareness of and support for our program. It is a week that enables us to draw some attention so that we may continue to run our workshops and support women with cancer across the country. It is a week that empowers us to bolster our efforts to Help Better Begin for those battling cancer.
This year, we partnered with Fashion Project, an online charitable re-commerce and community dedicated to raising funds for charitable organizations. As part of this community, individuals can donate their gently used, high-quality fashion items to benefit the charity of their choice. Fashion Project designers build an on-line boutique of donated items for each charitable organization from which shoppers can purchase. Since its launch in 2012, Fashion Project has collected 298,453 items and raised over $600,000 for 1,886 charities around the world.
During Look Good Feel Better Week, we created our own boutique and asked our celebrity and corporate friends to help us make a powerful impact for our program and the women we serve in two simple ways:
1. Donate one or more gently used (or unused) items from their closets to be sold in our exclusive boutique; and
2. Reach out to their friends and followers, encouraging them to donate their own items for sale to benefit Look Good Feel Better.
Additionally, we launched a sweepstakes that encourages people to donate their like-new clothing and accessories to our boutique. Prizes include a lunch date with fashion designer Carmen Marc Valvo, a tour of the CMV Atelier, and a dress of choice from CMV’s current collection.
We encourage everyone to be a part of our efforts. You
1. Donate gently used (or unused), high-quality fashion items to the Look Good Feel Better boutique;
2. Purchase products from the Look Good Feel Better boutique to refresh your closet for spring;
3. Host donation parties within your company or among your circle of friends;
4. Share our efforts with your followers via corporate and personal social media handles, using the hashtag #HelpBetterBegin; and
5. Place collection bins around your office to gather products to donate on behalf of the company.
For more information on how you can creatively support Look Good Feel Better, please contact the Personal Care Products Council Foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Look Good Feel Better® is proud to highlight one of the many companies who support our program and help give confidence to women with cancer. Designer handbag company ºCoxyº is a proud supporter of the Look Good Feel Better program. Here is ºCoxyº founder Chiara Rodoni’s story of why she supports the program, in her own words:
On the morning of February 22nd 2012, my Mom, Enrica, passed away after a long fight with cancer. The journey I lived with her, her illness and her agony, has been the most painful part of my life. But at the same time I received a wonderful gift.
I remember taking my mom to the chemo treatments, putting healing music in her ears and reading her stories while she underwent each treatment. I shaved her hair when she started losing it, then took her to choose her wigs, trying the different ones myself and putting on a show in the wig store to make her laugh. I took her to beauty and makeup classes and special healing programs dedicated to women with cancer. I massaged her body with essential oils and did her nails and makeup, even when she was stuck in a bed and couldn’t get up anymore because of her illness. I talked to every doctor I could because I wanted to find the best way to cure her and make her feel that she would never be alone in her fight. I knew that the disease was burning her from the inside. But I also knew that everything I was doing was making her feel happy, beautiful and loved.
The ºCoxyº project wouldn’t exist today without the help of my mom. She was my greatest fan. She taught me to put love in everything I do, to believe in myself and pursue my passion and my dreams. Her life was one of the most wonderful gifts of love I’ve ever had and now, I want to give this love back.
When I started picturing and designing one handbag, there was a deep inner voice that was telling me that I had to reconnect with myself as a woman. I started thinking about all the women I’ve met in my life, beginning with the one that I loved the most, my Mom. I wanted to make a difference, I wanted to create a bag that could talk about the beauty of being a woman.
That was a big challenge; how could I possibly put all those things into a handbag? So, I asked myself: what is the most beautiful thing about a woman? Suddenly I had a clear answer.
Yves Saint Laurent once said: “Rien n’est plus beau qu’un corp nu, le plus beau vêtement que puisse habiller une femme ce sont les bras de l’homme qu’elle aime.” (“Nothing is more beautiful than a naked body. The most beautiful dress a woman can wear are the arms of the man she loves.”)
That was it! My bag had to be that body: beautiful and sensual, confident and charismatic. I grabbed my colors immediately and started tracing the shapes of the ºCoxyº bag, a handbag that evokes the powerful shape of a woman’s body.
Every time a handbag is purchased from ºCoxyº, a contribution is made to Look Good Feel Better to benefit women diagnosed with cancer, helping them to take back their lives, their power and their beauty, during and after their illness.
Chiara Rodoni was born in Milan and raised in Milan and Paris. She began working in the fashion industry when she was still in high school, and in 2003, she graduated in Fashion Design at the Istituto Europeo di Design in Milan. Her graduation project, inspired by Yves Saint Laurent’s couture, immediately caught the attention of top designers. She began her fashion career working as a designer for international luxury brands, including Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Gianfranco Ferré, Missoni, Roberto Cavalli, Prada and Ralph Lauren. Gianfranco Ferré mentored Chiara himself, inspiring her with his ability to create unique collections that mix fashion with architecture and design. She has designed ‘ready to wear’, accessories, handbags and footwear. In 2013 Chiara moved to the USA, creating and launching her ºCoxyº brand. She currently lives and works as a designer and creative consultant in Los Angeles.
By Giselle Segovia
As the coordinator of social responsibility of CANIPEC, Mexico’s National Cosmetic Products Industry Trade Association, I have had the enormous pleasure of seeing Look Good Feel Better (LGFB) blossom in Mexico. The program has just completed its first year and is growing fast. It feels like it was only yesterday when LGFB was launched, so young and promising. Today LGFB is well on its way to a thriving program.
Having the chance of being part of this program is deeply rewarding. After completing the workshop, the look on the faces of the patients is one of confidence and excitement. Their mood has changed from gloomy to sunny.
The Mexican LGFB program started humbly and gained momentum throughout the year. Many companies jumped on board and the number of patients at the workshops increased significantly. To date, we have served 166 women in 2014. Due to the increase in attendance, we will now be offering two LGFB workshops per month in participating hospitals.
On behalf of CANIPEC I would like to thank the U.S. LGFB team for making this amazing program possible, for allowing us to bring a little sunshine to the lives of women cancer patients, for supporting us and sharing your knowledge which has helped us indescribably to grow the program as we have. While we have a lot to learn we feel that we are on the right track.
Once again, thank you for blessing us with the ability to help women cancer patients in Mexico. It is indeed one of the highest gifts a human being can possess. CANIPEC wishes you all an excellent 2015!
Look Good Feel Better is a program that positively transforms the spirit of the people who have the good fortune to participate. Each year more people are benefitting from this wonderful program. Our very long 2015 “waiting list” is a testament to our growing program.
Patients attending LGFB in Ecuador say that they experience more self-worth, hope and enthusiasm towards life after having attended our program. After a LGFB workshop and seeing themselves “look good,” the patients feel a lot better about themselves.
In 2011, with great enthusiasm, we took the first steps to launch LGFB in Ecuador. Initially, hospitals in Ecuador were hesitant to host LGFB as they did not know what the program was about. After seeing the results and how happy the patients were after the workshops, they became enthusiastic and opened their doors to the program.
In Ecuador, LGFB is offered to both men and women. Since the program began three years ago, we have seen more than 2,000 people recover their smiles, self-esteem and sense of hope. As LGFB leaders and volunteers, we too have enriched our spirit and have become passionate about returning the smiles to those patients who have lost them. We are happy to do what we do.
LGFB’s 25th anniversary has touched the hearts of many people from all corners of the world. Today we celebrate an idea from people who, 25 years ago, dreamed of helping people with cancer through our industry. That dream is now a reality and it continues to grow throughout the world, capturing the hearts of those of us who are part of the program: companies, volunteers - and our reason for being - our dear program participants. Returning the smile and sense of hope to our them is our dream.
Participants in our first program
Paty Flores, our first model at our first LGFB workshop
Men’s program workshop
As a young esthetician and make up artist I was asked to speak and do make up for a group of women with cancer. I was nervous and concerned I might not say the right thing or have the proper tools. I was moved by the support and connection these women found in each other. Apparently this topic of how to still look like yourself in your daily life during treatment was of huge importance to so many women in the world. I had no idea. My profession took a serious turn.
I worked on my own from my spa and then with family and friends during their treatment doing the best I could. I was in deep thought about how really everyone was touched by cancer in some way or another when I met a gentlemen volunteer who told me about Look Good Feel Better. I was certified by Look Good Feel Better in 2006 and volunteered right away in my home region of Northern Arizona. I found community and more important was trained with the tools I needed in a program that reaches so many.
Thanks Look Good Feel Better National Collaborators (The Personal Care Products Council Foundation, the American Cancer Society, and the Professional Beauty Association) for the channel to work through.
My word to describe the Look Good Feel Better program would be GRACE.
Aspiring to walk with grace.
The grace, dignity and bravery of the women who attend LGFB
Grace in the gift of giving of oneself from our volunteers
Takes my breath away to witness such grace in action
Aspiring to walk in this life in grace.
I could talk forever about all of the uplifting experiences I have had with Look Good Feel Better. I’ll try and not talk your ear off here. Two of my favorite stories:
When conducting patient workshops early on I would get nervous prior to the start of the program hoping and wishing I would get it right. The responsibility of working with “cancer patients” was overwhelming. At the start of this one particular workshop I found a women who was uncomfortable to remove her wig as she was experiencing hair loss. Just as I opened my mouth to encourage her another attendee of the program whipped off her wig! She vigorously rubbed her head and laughed with joy in her heart. “Look at how luxurious my new hair is, yes it is coming back! She instilled hope while inspiring the whole group to part with their head coverings and wigs with ease and grace. I knew then the importance of the workshop. I needed to say nothing. It was not about me. I was simply the guide. These women were no longer “cancer patients”. They are Amanda and Kim and Margaret. They’re our friends and family and co-workers. Talking, laughing and sharing tips and tricks for nails, make up, skin care and hair ideas. As women do, they were instantly bonded with a common connection.
Another time A very serious husband and wife arrived for a Patient Workshop. We asked the husband to enjoy some free time during the two - hour workshop. He was concerned with leaving her. You could see it in his eyes but he did. His wife agreed to be my model and during the program found herself head over heels for one of the wigs we demonstrated. “How exciting, I always wanted to try a new color but never had the guts!” she exclaimed.
Upon her husbands returned we all waited while she approached him looking good and feeling better. He started to brush by her when she grabbed his arm. He was shocked at first over her flowing red hair. After a deep look into each other’s eyes and a big hug he yelled “Hey Donna we gotta go now, come on gorgeous we have a date!” I practically had to chase them down to get the wig back! I got a call later that day from our local American Cancer Society office letting me know that they went there directly and acquired a red wig. Look Good Feel Better has a reach farther than we know.
My favorite part of the Look Good Feel Better program is the connection. It’s not about patients and volunteers. It is about people coming together and sharing. You could say professionals sharing or patients sharing or women sharing but at the end of the day were all just humans who are connected.
As a National Trainer who trains Area Trainers to go into their regions and train volunteers I am blown away by the passion and commitment that comes from these people who give of their time and selves to continue this work. From the National Collaborators, who created LGFB to the volunteers who implement it.
Everyone in treatment deserves Look Good Feel Better, so we must continue.
Tthe LGFB program in Spain, “Ponte guapa, te sentirás mejor” as one of the youngest global LGFB affiliates, is thrilled to congratulate our U.S. LGFB colleagues on their 25th anniversary. The LGFB program has helped thousands of women with cancer around the world to feel better and look like themselves again.
The advice and support from the U.S. made it possible to start the Spanish program in 2012. Since then, more than 1.200 women in our country have also benefitted from the program in 16 hospitals in various locations, through 175 workshops. In Spain the program is promoted through The National Cosmetic Association Foundation, Fundación Stanpa, supported by 28 cosmetic companies that donate funds and products in order to make the workshops a reality.
Doctors and nurses and more than 60 beauty professionals offer their time, support and professional skills to guide the patients through the LGFB workshops here in Spain. Attendees are taught the 12 steps of LGFB, from the gentle facial cleansing to makeup application skills, all of which help to restore beauty and promote self-confidence during cancer treatment. Workshops are filled with moments of joy and relaxation for patients, helping them remember that life is made of little wonderful moments.
We wish you all the best on this special “silver” anniversary and look forward to celebrating many Spanish LGFB anniversaries in years to come. We are proud to be a part of this big LGFB family!
I first heard about Look Good Feel Better when a dear friend of mine was coming to terms with the loss of her grandfather to his battle with lung cancer. Lisa was volunteering her time with The American Cancer Society when one of the staff partners asked her if she would like to help grow the Look Good Feel Better program in our area. Being my best friend, she figured we both needed to do this together. Funny how a simple request of a friend, in a single moment, has turned into life changing passion.
If I had one word to use to describe anyone involved with Look Good Feel Better it would be resilient. Anyone coming through the doors, whether it is to facilitate or attend a class, has a visible level of hope, courage and beauty in each of them. Resilient is a word that defines the strength of being able to have the courage to face change. I also like saying the word. Who can say resilient without some emphases?
In my time volunteering with Look Good Feel Better I think the most uplifting moments are when I have woman who has attended a class, won her battle with cancer, and then returns to become a volunteer for Look Good Feel Better. I have had the privilege of three women doing just that. It is humbling to me to be given the honor of not only helping them find a moment of light during their battle, but then to have them continue to bring light to others. This is when I see the sparkle of the web of resilient people within The Look Good Feel Better Program.
There is a moment in every Look Good Feel Better class for me when it stops being about cancer and it starts being about make-up and the fun of being a girl. It usually starts when a brave soul removes her wig or head covering with a little nervous giggle to show how much hair she has and then with encouragement eyebrows are drawn on and a new shade of lip stick is applied. It’s the laughter and the dare to try that new color attitude that is my favorite part. Actually just writing about that makes me smile with memories of just those moments.
Volunteering with Look Good Feel Better started out for me being about spending time with a dear friend. Then it became about working through my grief of losing my friend Jan to cancer and watching my Mother’s battle with her multiple cancer diagnosis. (Thankfully she is cancer free and stronger than ever) Now, it has just become a part of the fabric that makes up me. It is like being called a cosmetologist, a friend, a daughter, a sister, a mother and a wife. I am a volunteer with Look Good Feel Better!
Greetings from Look Good Feel Better, Singapore. Congratulations Look Good Feel Better, USA on your twenty-fifth anniversary! This is certainly a milestone you should celebrate and be proud of. We are happy to join many others in acknowledging and thanking you for leading the way in the provision of this important community program for people with cancer.
Look Good Feel Better, Singapore is the only LGFB affiliate in Asia and it has been our pleasure to be part of the Look Good Feel Better family. Since our inception in 2001, we have supported and reached out to approximately 5,500 ladies through about 400 workshops in 10 cancer centers, cancer societies and hospitals. This is made possible by 30 volunteers and staff of the Singapore Cancer Society; our volunteers are made up of make-up artistes, wig and wig alternatives specialists and volunteer LGFB management committee members, who have been working tirelessly to ensure that the program runs like clockwork over the last 13 years. LGFB, Singapore is currently supported by 6 prominent cosmetic, toiletries and retail organizations and we are thankful and appreciative of their generous support over the years.
Once again, congratulations LGFB, USA on your 25th year and best wishes for many years of continued success.
By: Ruth Neri, Program Director Look Good Feel Better Germany
The look good feel better program in Germany and its parent organization, DKMS LIFE, would like to send Look Good Feel Better US our congratulations on their 25th anniversary. Since its founding in 1989, the Look Good Feel Better program reaches out from the US to over 25 other countries worldwide. In 1995 Germany was the 6th country to introduce this program for cancer patients. Since then the US affiliate was a shining example for us and we are very pleased to be a part of the international LGFB cancer care program.
DKMS LIFE was founded in 1995 as a nonprofit company named “Aktiv gegen Krebs“ (AGK, active against cancer) following the example of the American LGFB organization to run cosmetic workshops for cancer patients. In 2005 AGK was renamed DKMS LIFE and is a part of the DKMS Family, the largest database network worldwide of stem cell donors to eradicate blood cancer.
In Germany 1,200 look good feel better cosmetic workshops are held annually in more than 250 medical facilities nationwide, including cancer care centers, hospitals and local community venues serving about 8,500 patients. Since its founding, more than 100,000 cancer patients have regained their self-esteem and courage to face life. In 2009 we began offering beauty workshops for young cancer patients. About 500 teens between 11 and 21 years have participated in the look good feel better for teens program.
The German look good feel better program for the benefit of cancer patients is only possible through the generous support of numerous well-known companies, particularly those of the cosmetics industry, such as Douglas, Lancaster, Astor and Manhattan, Estée Lauder Companies, Parfums Christian Dior, L’Oreal Paris, Henkel, Shiseido and Avène. About 200 specially trained volunteer beauty professionals support look good feel better in Germany. Without the help of all, we would not be nearly as successful in the mission to help women with cancer to regain joy in their lives.
For the nationwide expansion of the workshops, public attention and further financial support is important to help more German women with cancer. To create a foundation for future growth of look good feel better, in 2005 an annual Charity Ladies‘ Lunch in Hamburg, Berlin, Munich, Düsseldorf or Cologne was introduced. In 2006 the annual charity gala, dreamball, was introduced and is hosted each year in Berlin. Through this charity event many celebrities, and important guests from the fields of economics, politics and media are recruited to support our LGFB program.
There is a great demand for the look good feel better workshops, because annually more than 220,000 German women are newly diagnosed with cancer. Therefore, our goal is to increase our capacity to offer free cosmetic workshops for female cancer patients in the years to come. We look forward to doing so in a strong partnership with our international LGFB affiliates.
We wish you all the best for the future!