Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital has been helping women who are going through cancer treatment to face the disease with confidence thanks to a specialised make-up masterclass.
Look Good Feel Better is the only international cancer support charity providing practical support for women and teenagers suffering from the visible side effects of cancer treatment.
In Lynn, the service has proved popular, with 12 women attending the sessions on the last Wednesday of every month at the hospital, since the Lynn branch formed in 2007.
Regional co-ordinator Amanda Moore said: “I’ve been with the charity since day one, but there were two ladies, who sadly are not with us now, who championed for Look Good Feel Better to come to Lynn. Karen Cameron we lost a few years ago, and Shirley MacKinnon, who died in July.
“They wanted the charity to work in Lynn so people from the area would not have to travel to Norwich or Cambridge to get support. They felt it was nice to do it locally for the ladies after they had to travel already for their cancer treatment.”
The sessions offer ladies the opportunity to improve their self-image and appearance through free group and self-help skincare and make-up workshops and masterclasses.
Amanda said: “When you have lost your hair, your eyebrows and eyelashes, it’s like losing all definition and it’s like looking at an egg. By using make-up to add definition, it makes the whole face come alive.”
Diagnosis is daunting and life-changing. The added stress of the side effects of treatment can be demoralising and feel overwhelming. The sessions are dedicated to improving the self-esteem, confidence and wellbeing of people undergoing treatment for any sort of cancer.
She added: “It can be soul destroying for those going through it. They come in for two hours and they don’t forget about the cancer, but it’s a real boost for them and by the end they have found new friends who understand what they are going through.”
Joanne Jones, who previously used the service and is now a hospital volunteer, said: “I went to the sessions many years ago, and they were great then and are still great now. Meeting people in the same position you are, who understand how you are feeling, is a great support for women.
Tracey Sowyer, who attended this session, said: “It was great to meet ladies in same situation and I had a fabulous time with lots of laughs. It was nice to know how to apply the make up properly.”
Jenny Palfrey, who is currently undergoing treatment, said: “It was a great experience and I really enjoyed the afternoon, it was friendly and well-needed.”
Workshops and Masterclasses are conducted by a team of trained Look Good Feel Better beauty volunteers from No 7 and Debenhams, who share their tips and techniques for minimising side-effects such as skin changes, eyebrow and eyelash loss.
Amanda said: “We all do it in our own time and we couldn’t function without the help of the hospital volunteers, they provide leaflets for those attending their consultation and let them know how they can access the service.
“Look Good Feel Better is aimed at those who have had cancer in the last two years and are still undergoing treatment, or those who are terminal and may have already had a session, you are entitled to another.”
If you are interested in finding out more about the charity, or would like to attend the next session on Wednesday, September 24, contact the hospital volunteers on 01553 613205.
Go to www.lookgoodfeelbetter.co.uk for more information on how to volunteer.