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Cancer patients get opportunity to 'Look Good … Feel Better'

September 01, 2010
Battling cancer is difficult for anyone, but the emotional stress from the physical changes, including hair loss, can make it even worse. That's why the American Cancer Society is hosting a free Look Good … Feel Better session at Harrison County Hospital in Corydon.

During the two-hour session, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sept. 27, a licensed cosmetologist who has been trained by the ACS will provide information and cosmetic advice to women who are currently in cancer treatment or have been within the past year.

Each participant will receive a kit of various cosmetics that have been donated by manufacturers valued at $250.

"There's just all sorts of things in here," Jean Melton of Milltown, a cancer survivor and ACS volunteer, said.

Gene Watson, community program representative for the ACS Southwest Indiana Area Service Center in Evansville, which includes Crawford and Harrison counties, said it is special to see the expression on the women's faces after the session.

"It just makes them feel better about themselves. ... They look good, they feel better," he said.

Harrison County just recently became part of the 18-county Southwest Indiana Area Service Center, and while a cosmetologist in Crawford County previously offered a Look Good … Feel Better session there, this is the first in the area in some time, Watson said. However, through a partnership with Harrison County Hospital, he doesn't expect it to be the last.

"This is the beginning of a long relationship we're going to have with the hospital," said Watson, who hopes to offer a session quarterly.

The Look Good … Feel Better program was started in 1989 by the Personal Care Products Council Foundation, with the ACS and National Cosmetology Association joining the effort. More than 50,000 people participate each year.

During each two-hour session, cancer patients receive a 12-step skin care and make-up application lesson, a demonstration on how to deal with hair loss and techniques of nail care. Although the ACS's wig bank, which provides wigs to women who lose their hair from chemotherapy, is a different program, the women will receive tips on preparing their wigs.

There will be 39 sessions at 18 sites throughout the Southwest Indiana Area Service Center this year. Each session can accommodate up to 12 individuals, but six to eight is "just a wonderful number" because it allows more individual attention from the facilitator, Watson said.

The session in Corydon will be led by Greta Lewellyn of Orleans, but Watson is hopeful of having local facilitators at future sessions.

Besides Look Good … Feel Better, the ACS offers many other services for cancer patients, including Road to Recovery, which provides cancer patients with transportation to and from their treatment appointments. All of the drivers are volunteers.

"I drove yesterday," Melton, the local volunteer coordinator for the program, said last week, "and it's always a blessing."

Additional drivers are always needed, and volunteers will be trained by her and Watson.

"The drivers are more blessed than the patients," she said.

Another valuable program is Reach to Recovery, which links breast cancer patients with survivors who can share their experiences in an effort to offer hope.

Melton and Watson both urged patients to contact the ACS Resource Center, which can help patients get the services they need, including a resource binder that helps them organize important information, including medications, appointments and notes.

Women currently undergoing cancer treatments or have within the past year may register by calling the ACS at 1-800-ACS-2345 (227-2345) or Patricia Mangin at 738-8708. Participants must register by Sept. 13.

Patients who need a ride through the Road to Recovery program or would like to volunteer for any of the programs may call the ACS at the listed number or Melton at 633-4804.

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