Celebrating National Volunteer Week: Reflections from Volunteer and PBA National Project Director Linda Whitehurst

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In honor of National Volunteer
Week, we will be sharing stories of this year’s
Look Good Feel Better National Sunrise Award recipients – those
who have demonstrated exceptional dedication and commitment to the Look Good
Feel Better program. We begin this blog series with a post from Linda
Whitehurst, Look Good Feel Better longtime volunteer and one of only 59
volunteer winners of the National Sunrise Award.

Linda has been a Look Good Feel
Better volunteer for more than 25 years, and has served in a number of
volunteer roles, including workshop facilitator, state coordinator, area
trainer and national trainer.  She was previously the owner of the
 Parasol
Hair Studio
 in Charlotte, North Carolina, for 28 years and now lives in Asheville, North Carolina, where she uses her cosmetology
skills and years of experience as a hair stylist to cut wigs for cancer
patients. Linda
is also a member of the PBA, the largest organization of salon
professionals with members representing salons/spas, distributors,
manufacturers and beauty professionals. She is the PBA Look Good Feel
Better national project director and represents the volunteer
perspective among the national operations team, which includes the PBA, the Personal
Care Products Council Foundation and the American Cancer Society.

By Linda Whitehurst

Every year, the Look Good Feel Better National Sunrise Awards are given to volunteers who have made
extraordinary contributions to the program and to the lives of the women they
help. As a former recipient of this prestigious award, I know how dedicated and
committed these volunteers must be to the program. I understand that they’ve
spent countless hours of their personal time empowering women with cancer to regain
the confidence and self-esteem they need to power through their treatment and
recovery. And each year, I am repeatedly amazed by their selfless contributions.
Giving back is why I volunteer with Look Good Feel Better, and I know that is
why they do the same.

I first heard about the Look Good Feel Better program at the 1989
National Cosmetology Association Show in California, shortly after Look Good
Feel Better was launched.  There was an article in American Salon that
provided information about the opportunities for cosmetologists to become part
of this amazing program, helping women with cancer by demonstrating how to
camouflage appearance-related side effects of cancer treatment, using skin care
and makeup products donated by the cosmetic industry, and helping them to use
wigs, hats, and scarf-tying techniques to deal with hair loss.  My
heartstrings said, “You have to be part of this program!”  I signed up,
was certified in 1990, and have been involved ever since.

After working with the program for more than 25 years, one word
stands out when describing Look Good Feel Better: confidence.  I see women
over and over come into workshops timid, not at all sure they want to be there,
and after the two hours are over, the confidence and self-esteem they have
gained gives them a radiant glow. I always remember one particular patient who
came to a Look Good Feel Better workshop before taking a trip to the islands
with her family. When she returned she brought me a poem she wrote about losing
her brows to the ocean, but thanks to Look Good Feel Better she had the skills
to put them back so no one noticed.

Stories like this are why I volunteer.  It is so gratifying
and keeps my life in perspective, reminding me of what is really
important.  And as I look back on my more-than-25 years of service with Look
Good Feel Better, I am reminded of all my fellow volunteers, and proud of their
hard work, compassion and generosity. I am especially proud of the LookGood
Feel Better National Sunrise Award
winners who inspire and motivate us to do all that we can to contribute to the
wellbeing, confidence and morale of others who are having a difficult time and
in need of a caring heart and helping hand. It is an honor to have them as part
of the Look Good Feel Better community.

Congratulations to Sharon Howard of Kansas City, Missouri; Hans
Kalset of Potomac, Maryland; and Victoria Littlefield of Pittston, Maine.