The Look Good Feel Better Blog
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.
I heard about the Look Good Feel Better (LGFB) program from my social worker Donna. I had already began chemo and was bald. She thought I would enjoy meeting fellow sisters in all different stages of cancer.
What I took away from the program is that you can still be beautiful while going through cancer . Not only did I love the goody bags but I learned to wear scarves and try on some fabulous wigs.
My favorite part of the LGFB was meeting the survivors, newly diagnosed and the ones going through treatment such as myself in 2012. It gave me hope and inspired me to continue the fight.
The LGFB information that was helpful for me was in my goody bag. The booklet that helps you remember what you learned in the class. How to ties the scarves and draw your missing eyebrows. What I learned from my cancer journey is you have to keep a sense of humor. Being bald is temporary. Your hair and eyelashes will grow back.
My family thought I looked AMAZING ! I felt fantastic . I felt like a movie star and for a day I looked like one too. If you happen to have to go down this journey , I strongly recommend the LGFB program. It will change your life for the better. It did mine.
The Look Good Feel Better (LGFB) Argentina program would like to congratulate and thank our colleagues and role models from LGFB U.S. on their 25th anniversary and wish them continued fruitful work and sustained growth.
In 1999 , Mrs Carolyn Deaver, CTFA Vice-president, visited our country bringing the LGFB seed to CAPA, Argentine Chamber of Cosmetics and Perfume Industry. That seed germinated and the following year, in March 2000 , “ Look Good Feel Better Argentina ” was born. In the beginning we had 2 workshops per month at the CAPA offices and a goal to reach 200 beneficiaries that year. Thus, Argentina became the first Latin American country to carry out the program thanks to the commitment and support of CAPA members.
Today we can proudly say we have reached over 1400 beneficiaries in 2013, thanks to more than 60 volunteers and about 19,000 products donated by member companies. LGFB Argentina has conducted over 110 workshops throughout the city of Buenos Aires and 10 other states throughout our country at our CAPA´s offices as well as in other public and private institutions and other NGOs.
We hope the U.S. and Argentine programs continue to spread the caring spirit of helping the many women coping with cancer and its treatments, reinforcing their confidence and self-esteem.
I first learned about the Look Good Feel Better (LGFB) program while I was about a third of the way through my six-month chemotherapy treatment for Stage 2 breast cancer. A very dear friend of mine who’s mother had been through cancer a year before me recommended this wonderful program.. It came at an opportune time for me because I had just lost all my eyebrows and eyelashes. I was not feeling very good about my appearance and was very insecure to be seen in public.
I was a little apprehensive at first to go to this LGFB workshop because I was uncomfortable going out in public because of my appearance. My bald head and missing eyelashes and eyebrows announced to everyone that I was a cancer patient. So I gathered my courage, grabbed my sister to come along with me for emotional support, and arrived at the workshop to join 10 other patients. I didn’t know what to expect, but I immediately saw that the others looked very similar in appearance to me.
The quiet room was uncomfortable at first, and some of the patients were very down and angered by their present situation. However, it was like Christmas as we opened up our individual makeup bags and unwrapped the donated products to begin the workshop. There were compliments flying around, and giggling and before we knew it, a comradely had developed amongst everyone in the room. After spending a couple of hours with other cancer patients who understood exactly what I was going through, everything changed. We could relate to each other and I felt that for the first time, I had understanding companionship on my cancer journey.. It was so much fun seeing the beautiful transformation of everyone. I loved how the spirit of the session changed over the two hour period - it went from quiet and somewhat gloomy to uplifting, encouraging and joyful.
The volunteers who directed the session were very caring and knowledgeable. They truly cared about us. They made us laugh. They made us feel beautiful by teaching us how to use make up to help us deal with our appearance related issues. The greatest issue I had to deal with was the loss of my eyebrows and eyelashes. When I looked in the mirror I didn’t recognize myself. It was really scary and made me feel very insecure. The beauty professionals showed us how to use eyeliner so it looked as if we had eyelashes. What a lifesaver this illusion was for me! It made me look more like myself again. I learned how to draw on eyebrows so that when someone looked at me, they could actually focus on my eyes and not look right past me.
I also enjoyed learning how to tie head scarves and I loved the T-shirt wrap. What a comfortable, inexpensive way to make a head covering. We also tried on beautiful wigs and that lifted our spirits. I learned that when I looked beautiful on the outside I felt beautiful on the inside.
My little sister was such a support to me. She was full of compliments and helped me feel better about myself through the whole session. The ironic thing about this is that two years later the roles were reversed for us. I became the support and caretaker for this same little sister as she attended a Look Good Feel Better session when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Inspired by the committed and uplifting work of Look Good Feel Better in the United States, in 1992 the Canadian Cosmetic Toiletry and Fragrance Association (CCTFA) pledged to support women with cancer by establishing the CCTFA Foundation to deliver the Look Good Feel Better program.
Each year we offer more than 1,450 cosmetic and hair alternative workshops at over 100 cancer care facilities and hospitals from coast-to-coast. Its here that our 1,950 industry trained volunteers passionately dedicate their time and expertise by teaching workshop participants how they can take charge by learning how to best manage the appearance related challenges of cancer and its treatment.
None of this would be possible without the ongoing support from the members companies of the CCTFA and other caring organizations, sponsors and donors. Its only with their help that we have had the honour and privilege of providing hands-on support to over 160,000 Canadian women, helping them look good and feel better about themselves during cancer treatment.
Our Canadian program has helped hundreds of thousands more women through our Signature services including tutorial videos and the Lives Affected by Cancer magazine, both posted on lookgoodfeelbetter.ca. We also print and distribute one million copies of this informative publication that addresses a host of uplifting topics and information to support women on their lifelong cancer journey.
FacingCancer.ca was established as an on-line companion program to Look Good Feel Better in an effort to further meet the emotional and social needs of women with cancer. This caring community offers a safe and supportive place where women and those who love and support them can share their experiences and offer support about ‘everything else’ that’s going on as a result of a cancer diagnosis.
On behalf of the CCTFA Foundation and our many partners and supporters, we congratulate and wish Look Good Feel Better USA a wonderful anniversary as you celebrate 25 years helping women face cancer with hope and confidence.
Eivind Bjerke – 25-year volunteer
I had a beautiful young woman on my staff about 28 years ago. She was diagnosed with stomach cancer and was sent to NIH for treatment. She was told that she needed to start treatment at once, or she would not live for another year.
A short time later, I heard that Look Good Feel Better was looking for cosmetologists (back then hairdressers). In 1988, I signed up and was asked to do the first pilot Look Good Feel Better program at Lombardi Cancer Center at Georgetown Hospital. In that early pilot period, The Personal Care Products Council Foundation, formerly the CTFA Foundation, sent me several times to New York and other places to help demonstrate the program to Council member companies representing the cosmetic industry and help them understand the impact of Look Good Feel Better for women with cancer.
Prior to becoming a volunteer, I had worked with clients over the years that had cancer and would lose their hair. My knees would buckle when I was doing their hair, and the hair would come out in my brush or comb. I felt terrible and did not know what to say or do for these clients when that happened. Back then, cancer patients had surgery and treatment for the cancer and were left to deal on their own with their hair loss and appearance issues and concerns.
Then along came LGFB and the whole world changed. Oncologists and other oncology health care providers found out the need and importance for their patients to look their best after surgery and hair loss due to chemotherapy.
I have thought long and hard about the one word to best describe the Look Good Feel Better program. It’s hard to think of just one word, but here are a few that come to mind: lifeline, healing, rewarding, therapeutic, comforting, beneficial, love, and fun.
When I volunteer for the Look Good Feel Better program I feel like, in a small way, maybe I helped to save someone’s life.