Look Good Feel Better
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Look Good Feel Better is a free, national community service program, run by the Cancer Patients Foundation. The program has been designed to help cancer patients learn practical strategies to manage the physical, psychological and social impacts of cancer treatment. Since the first workshop in Sydney in May 1990, more than 170,000 women, men and teens undergoing cancer treatment across Australia have benefitted from participating.
Three services are offered as part of the Look Good Feel Better program – Face-to-Face workshops, Virtual Workshops and Home-Delivered Confidence Kits. These services have been developed with the purpose of empowering those undergoing cancer treatment by equipping them with the practical skills and knowledge needed to face their cancer diagnosis with confidence.
The Cancer Patients Foundation, responsible for running the Look Good Feel Better program, is an independent not-for-profit organisation, not affiliated with any other cancer charity or support service. With no government funding, the Cancer Patients Foundation relies on the generosity of corporate and community supporters to ensure all Australians have access to the program, free-of-charge.
Your incredible 2022 Dry July funds have made a huge difference for Look Good Feel Better
I’m Karen - Mum of two adult daughters, wife of more than 30 years, and a career woman.
I’ve spent decades working to support regional and remote Australia along with the most disadvantaged members of our community, particularly our First Nations people. I was 54 in early 2021 when diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer.
I’ve now completed 12 months of active treatment with “the red devil” (AC chemo) along with Paclitaxel chemo, had a double mastectomy, complete hysterectomy, radiotherapy, and a couple of extra surgeries to deal with other side effects I experienced.
I was never a girly girl, not much into makeup, rarely blow drying or straightening my hair (unless there was a special occasion) and always felt more comfortable in jeans or shorts, runners, and a t-shirt. Once the side effects of treatment kicked in, however, and I had no eyebrows or eyelashes, I was being met at all turns with a lot of concerned faces and I could feel the discomfort others were feeling based on my presentation. I must have appeared a bit scary to be honest, despite feeling better than I looked.
I knew there were “tricks” that I could use to help, but I had no idea where to start. I certainly wasn’t going into a department store (covid and all) and I knew I also needed a LOT of guidance and practice. Just the thought of how overwhelming it would all be was a lot.
I decided to register for a Look Good Feel Better workshop and, apart from the generous supply of products which meant I never had to wonder what I needed, it was the absolute patience of the lovely volunteers helping me to figure out how to draw my features back on that helped me the most. I learned how to draw on my eyebrows and how to create the illusion of eyelashes, and also learned that makeup didn’t have to be complex or scary. It could be quite simple, and so could skincare. Being taught how to look after my skin during treatment ensured it came through in the best possible condition. The added benefit was getting to try out a lot of products in a really, really safe and non-judgmental space. Those things, along with a kind and encouraging group made my experience a wonderful one, and I walked out of the workshop not only looking more like me, but feeling confident I could replicate it. There was absolutely no downside to it.
My family was delighted. They all commented on how I looked “like Mum” again and that the spark in my eye had returned. It also stopped friends and colleagues asking me if I was okay all the time, as I now looked more okay.
When I was feeling good, what I learned at the workshop meant I looked it too. When I wasn’t feeling so good, what I learned at the workshop resulted in me feeling a bit brighter.
My lovely youngest daughter had done Dry July a few times already by 2021 - the year I was having treatment - and she has taken part every year since. She sees Dry July as a way to contribute through her own actions in making a change for others. Participating in, or supporting others to participate in Dry July is an opportunity to create change in our community and to contribute to something that’s important or impacted on you in a meaningful way.
I’m thankful for the support of the Look Good Feel Better program during my experience with cancer and know any Dry July funding will help others going through a similar experience feel a whole lot better too.
Thanks to your Dry July fundraising you’ve helped fund Look Good Feel Better confidence-boosting program!
We are delighted to announce that with your help an astounding $82,889 was raised for Look Good Feel Better.
By taking part in Dry July, you’ve helped fund our confidence-boosting program, allowing us to support up to 828 Australians undergoing cancer treatment.
We are beyond grateful for your fundraising efforts and dedication. Over the past 12 months the Look Good Feel Better program has been able to expand its service offering. Thanks to people like you, we are able to provide those undergoing cancer treatment the opportunity to learn practical strategies to manage the appearance-related side effects of treatment, and improve health, fitness, mobility and mental wellbeing.
On behalf of Look Good Feel Better, we would like to thank you for your support and contribution to making a positive difference in the lives of people living with cancer
At the end of 2018, I discovered a large lump on my neck while I was working overseas. My doctor arranged for it to be biopsied once I returned to the country in February 2019, and those tests came back inconclusive. About eight months later, I still had the lump and I was feeling really run down, and my new GP ran some further tests and recommended that I get the lump biopsied again. The second time the tests showed that I had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
There was about six weeks between my diagnosis and staring treatment, and in between that there was a heap of other tests, a rushed round of IVF to collect some eggs, and turning 30. Going through treatment was difficult. It was the first time I had spent a lot of time as a patient in the health care system and there was a lot to navigate. The chemotherapy regime was tough, and I was spending a lot of time at home recovering from that.
I’d been told about the Look Good Feel Better program but it wasn’t something that I was sure I would get a lot out of. Looking back however, I think I was making excuses for myself - at the time I was still quite reluctant to identify as a cancer patient, and I felt like attending groups such as this would cement that I was one.
The workshop provided an opportunity to get out of the house for a day involving something that wasn’t a medical appointment. I learned a lot of practical things about skin care and cosmetics, and it was really helpful having someone there to provide practical information about wigs and headwear.
The facilitators were really experienced, and they knew the sorts of issues that everyone was facing with their appearance and life generally. Although it was with a group of other cancer patients, we weren’t treated like that was all we were.
I remember laughing a lot with the other workshop participants - before that, I don’t think that I had really connected with other people who were going through treatment and I really appreciated that. A handful of the other participants were also having treatment at the same hospital as I was, so it meant that there were now some familiar faces around which was nice. It was also just great being able to participate in something like this that wasn’t limited to a particular type of cancer or an age group.
I think that attending the Look Good Feel Better workshop put me in the right frame of mind to utilise other services available for people undergoing treatment or living with cancer. Before I did the workshop I was hesitant to attend other groups, because I was reluctant to identify as a cancer patient. Meeting the other participants and having a great time at the workshop gave me the confidence to seek out other support services which I think really benefited me during treatment and recovery.
Taking part in Dry July helps fund the Look Good Feel Better program, meaning more Australians undergoing cancer treatment can benefit from the same positive experiences I did. Thank you for your support.
Look Good Feel Better can continuing running their confidence boosting program thanks to Dry July fundraising
We are thrilled to let you know that your incredible efforts contributed towards $87,260 being raised to help fund our confidence-boosting program; aiming to teach cancer patients how to manage the appearance-related side-effects caused by treatment for any type of cancer.
Your dedication to our cause means that thousands of cancer patients across Australia will have the opportunity to benefit from our Workshops and Home-Delivered Confidence Kits over the next 12 months. Patients like Kerry, who said;
“Going through the cancer journey, so many things are completely out of your control and I’m grateful and hang on to every moment where I feel empowered, strong and happy. Your work has given me a number of these precious moments.”
For 31 years, Look Good Feel Better has empowered Australians undergoing cancer treatment to face their diagnosis with confidence, and our work is only possible because of the generosity of people like you.