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ACS helps patients 'Look Good, Feel Better'

BY CARRIE DILLARD cdillard@paducahsun.com

Faye McBride of Metropolis, Illinois, is not one to wear makeup regularly, but she decided to attend the Look Good, Feel Good session Monday at Baptist Health Paducah anyway.

Look Good, Feel Better is a free monthly workshop, sponsored by the American Cancer Society, which offers a skin care and makeup demonstration as well as helpful tips about wigs and other products to camouflage areas of concern for women undergoing cancer treatments.

The workshop is held every third Monday of the month at Baptist. McBride was one of three women who participated this month.

American Cancer Society volunteer Jane Charlton said sessions average four participants.

Charlton and fellow volunteer Sandra Hawkins, both licensed cosmetologists from Wingo, have donated their time to the Look Good, Feel Good program for five years.

"We love doing it," Charlton said. "We've seen as many as seven and as few as one. But even with one, it was worth coming here. We who are well take it so for granted."

McBride has been undergoing daily radiation treatments at Baptist after being diagnosed with breast cancer in June.

"I have 28 treatments left," she said.

She's tired and has lost most of her appetite, along with 14 pounds, but she's not experiencing many other symptoms.

But chemo and radiation can ravage the skin and hair, said Terri Walters, nurse navigator at Baptist Health. "Especially with chemotherapy, they have a lot of changes in their skin," she said. "This gives them a little hope and encouragement when your entire body and appearance is changing."

Each participant receives a free goodie bag filled with name brand cosmetics donated through the Personal Care Products Council, a charitable organization supported by the cosmetic industry, to use during the program and take home. Charlton and Hawkins led the group in a step-by-step tutorial for applying everything from moisturizer to mascara.

"Some women come in very confident in putting on makeup," Charlton said, "and some have never done it."

Most makeup kits include cleansing cloths, foundation, concealer, moisturizer, eyeliner, mascara, nail polish, blush, lip liner and lipstick in brands including Biore, Avon, Estee Lauder, Neutrogena, Covergirl and Lancome.

Anna Holley of Metropolis signed up for the workshop while in a radiation room for treatment.

"I kept reading the flier every time I went, and I finally asked about it," she said.

Holley was diagnosed with metastatic lung cancer in July. She will finish her first set of radiation Tuesday, but doesn't know what the future will hold.

"The doctor said, 'You have three to six months,'" she said. "I'm in a daze, just taking baby steps right now. I'm just taking it one day at a time."

The feeling is not uncommon for anyone going through cancer, Walters said.

"This is all new, foreign and so confusing when you've never been through this before," she said. "That's why they are so appreciative (of little things)."

As the women apply their lip liner and lipstick, the finals touches of the day, their smiles become more frequent with each other and the volunteer cosmetologists.

"It's rewarding to see a light in their eyes when they leave," Charlton said.

To learn more about the Look Good, Feel Good program and upcoming sessions in Paducah, contact the American Cancer Society in Louisville at 1-800-227-2345.

Contact Carrie Dillard, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8657.

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