The Look Good Feel Better Blog

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!

I first heard about Look Good Feel Better (LGFB) from a social worker when I was being evaluated for chemotherapy.   Then, I attended a  LGFB patient workshop on March 17, 2014.

I completely enjoyed the whole experience—make-up, clothes and hats/scarves.  I have always been a makeup and fashion girly-girl and, even though I’m 62, I knew who Stacy London and Carmindy were because I don’t think I’ve missed an episode of “What Not To Wear!” 

While this program was very helpful to me and so very generous (and for that, I am very grateful), it was also just plain fun.  I was excited to go to the patient workshop and thoroughly enjoyed being there.  This program came into my life during my darkest hour and was my first opportunity after being diagnosed and having surgery to do something light and fun and that too meant a lot to me.

I enjoyed the make-up application lessons the most.  And I was very grateful (and frankly, completely stunned) to be able to leave with a bagful of expensive make-up.   

Again, the make-up application lessons were the most useful to me—I have to say, I had  drop-dead gorgeous eyebrows during chemo without a hair in the area!  Even I could barely tell they weren’t real—it was just well-applied make-up and I have absolutely no artistic talent.    

It was always the same—friends and family would come up to me, put their face up to mine, squint (as if they were sure they would spot something wrong) and say, somewhat disbelievingly, “You look great!”  It was always fun to watch and hear!

I started working with the Look Good Feel Better program when I was of leaving the beauty field to go do work that could really help people when I found this program.  My mother had cancer and waited too long to go in for treatment. She was afraid. She suffered for years afterwards with the affects of treatment. But one thing she would say is that when she put on some lipstick and combed her hair, she felt ready for the day… I remembered that and thought, maybe I could help someone feel that by doing volunteering.

The Look Good Feel Better program is so  empowering.  When people come into the the class they are often feeling powerless. They have no control over what is happening to their bodies, their minds, their souls. But with LGFB they learn that with a few “tricks” of the hand, they can fool the eye and look better and consequently, feel better, They feel empowered.  They now have the “tools” to create a feeling that goes along with looking good—confidence.  They are now ready to face the day.

I have been doing this program for over 19 years… now as a trainer and before as a group leader.  During this time I have seen people come into the class feeling lost, hopeless, and ugly.  But by the end of the class they feel HAPPY. They are giggling and laughing. They are sharing. They are loving.  This fact was brought home by the story of a woman who participated in my friend Sandy’s breast cancer support group.  She came into the class with such sorrow and brokenness. She was ready to give up and die.  She participated in the Look Good, Feel Better class and after she put eyebrows and lips on, she started to smile… weeks later, Sandy called me and said- “Peggy Rose, you won’t believe this…then she went on to tell me that this woman was a different person now.  She is full of life and living it!  She said Look Good, Feel Better was the reason!”

 Looking back on what I enjoy the most about working with the program it has to be helping people to see they have the power within themselves to change what they are feeling. Whether they are becoming a facilitator or they are a participant, they can change the mood around them.  They may not be able to change the circumstances but they can change their attitude. They can help themselves and help others. By being in a group setting they are creating the mysterious network of “hope & healing”.  Nobody is saying that you have to use this type of make up or use this salon or pay this much money or see this doctor… this program is completely FREE, Non Medical, and product/salon neutral.  There is no pressure for anyone to be or do anything but have fun.  Sometimes getting to this point takes a little bit of time but once they open the generous LGFB kits filled with well over $250 worth of skincare and makeup— they are in heaven!  From laughing about getting eyebrows that look like Groucho Marx’s to finding a pretty shade of lipstick, these people are engaged in making themselves feel better.

 I volunteer for the program because I feel like my purpose in life is to help others to see life is beautiful and no matter what the circumstances, we can find hope and love.  This program is one small piece of a very big puzzle called life and it is one that I get to help put in place… How can I stop doing this when the puzzle is so big and so many people need to know they can participate by sharing the good news? What many people do not realize is that they are not alone… this program is a “back-door” support group. The make up is just the frosting.  We are building a beautiful picture of life  born of sorrow but held together with love…  That is why I continue to volunteer. I can make a difference by using my skills to help another person feel alive…

Twenty five years of helping women cancer patients is a wonderful achievement. We have been very fortunate here in France to have benefitted from more than two decades of knowledge and expertise as we have developed our Look Good Feel Better (LGFB) programme in the last decade.

France was the 12th country to implement the LGFB programme in 2002.Look Good Feel BetterFrance has come a long way since then. Today the French affiliate (known as “belle & bien ”) helps women to gain confidence, control and self-esteem throughout 24 hospitals and cancer care centers.

Since the programme’s inception, over 2 000 workshops have been organized and more than 15,000 women have benefitted from the generosity and beauty techniques of our 100 plus volunteer base.  Look Good Feel Better France is currently supported by 16 prominent cosmetic brands from the beauty industry. Many of these brands were founding members and we are indebted to them for their loyalty and support throughout the years. This year, we are delighted that some of our member companies are undertaking exciting initiatives to further increase awareness of the Look Good Feel Better cause.

On the occasion of our 10th anniversary in 2012 – the original French Look Good Feel Better name “La Vie, de plus belle…“changed to “belle & bien”.  This name change together with the new international logo has enabled Look Good Feel Better France to better communicate its purpose and reach out to even more cancer patients. Since the beginning of 2014, several hospitals have increased the number of workshops and demand for the programme is steadily increasing.

We wish the U.S. all the best for this important anniversary and are proud to be part of the Look Good Feel Better network.

By Louanne Roark, Executive Director, Look Good Feel Better

This year, Look Good Feel Better (LGFB) is excited to be celebrating 25 years of helping women with cancer gain confidence in their appearance! LGFB is a public service program that teaches beauty techniques to cancer patients to help them manage the appearance side effects of treatment.

In March of 1989, LGFB was introduced as an idea to leverage the expertise of the beauty industry to help women living with cancer who were struggling with the morale-crushing appearance side effects of treatment.

The concept was to offer education and expert beauty guidance from caring volunteers to help improve a woman’s changed appearance, self-esteem, and outlook and to give her the ability to approach her disease and treatment with greater confidence.

Today, Look Good Feel Better offers free group workshops and other educational resources that teach beauty and styling techniques to cancer patients to help them manage the appearance side effects of treatment. The workshops are open to women undergoing chemotherapy, radiation and other forms of treatment. In the United States alone, more than 900,000 women have participated in the program, which now offers 15,400 group workshops nationwide in more than 2,500 locations.

To help celebrate our 25th anniversary, Look Good Feel Better will host a 25th Anniversary party at the National Women’s Survivors Convention in Nashville, TN that will be streamed live online on Friday, August 1.  The event will:

  • Raise awareness for the program;
  • Celebrate the 900,000 program graduates; and
  • Recognize the achievements of 6,000 volunteers, the American Cancer Society staff who deliver the program, and the beauty industry that supports it.

To learn more about the event and to register to join the celebration by streaming it live, visit http://onlinevideoservice.com/clients/pcc/25th-anniversary/register.html.

While we look back and celebrate our accomplishments over the past 25 years, we also look to the future where our challenge is to continue to grow the LGFB program to help the more than 800,000 U.S. women who will be diagnosed with cancer this year alone. Our goal is to find new and creative ways to reach the many women who can benefit and draw strength from our services and support.

We invite you to join us in this anniversary year to find YOUR unique way to support Look Good Feel Better and Reimagine Beauty. Look Good Feel Better illuminates the power of beauty to help a woman with cancer re-define herself and how the world sees her. You can help share that power. Every referral, every partnership, every conversation and every donation helps us reach women with cancer.

On behalf of those women, join us to Reimagine Beauty. To learn more, visit lookgoodfeelbetter.org

By: Madelaine Edholm

Look Good Feel Better (LGFB) Sweden would like to congratulate the LGFB U.S. program on   25 wonderful years of helping women with cancer cope with the side effects of treatment.

Without LGFB thousands of women worldwide would not have had the opportunity to have benefit from regaining their self-esteem during cancer treatment.

 LGFB Sweden, sponsored by the Swedish Trade Association for Cosmetics, Detergents and Toiletries (KTF,AB), is happy to celebrate 11 years of helping women with cancer. Our very first workshop was held on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2003, at Radiumhemmet, Stockholm where we continue to hold workshops today.

 About 100 LGFB workshops are hosted every year at 11 hospitals around Sweden, from Umeå in the north to Malmö in the south. About 100 workshops serve approximately 1800 women annually. Since the inception of the program, we have helped over 10,000 women in workshop settings with the help of approximately 150 volunteers. LGFB is supported by more than 20 member companies representing more than 35 different brands on the Swedish market.

 The workshops are very often an ego boost for the participating women. It is a major step for most of the women to be able to look in the mirror and remove their wig in a public environment for the first time since their treatment. Many women tell their nurses that attending a LGFB workshop has helped them cope with their illness treatment.

We have many hospitals requesting the LGFB workshops and we would love to expand the program. Our goal is to expand throughout the years to come as we believe this is one thing we can give to women who are ill with cancer.

Our Mission

Look Good Feel Better is dedicated to improving the self-esteem and quality of life of people undergoing treatment for cancer.

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