Ed Kavanaugh, former president of the Personal Care Products Council, was asked by a doctor to provide a makeover for one of his patients. The young woman was undergoing cancer treatment, and because of the physical side effects, had started showing signs of depression. She was very down and even refused to leave her hospital room. Kavanaugh obliged, providing cosmetics and a makeup artist, and the transformation was fantastic. The young woman became very animated, and laughed for the first time since beginning treatment. Follow-up reports from the doctor informed Kavanaugh that the patient continued with her treatment with an entirely new outlook after the make-over.
How could a little makeup and a new hair style have such a huge impact on an individual’s outlook? Well, it did, and it was the beginning of a phenomenal and very popular American Cancer Society program known as Look Good...Feel Better (LGFB).
At that time Kavanaugh presented the idea to leaders in the cosmetic industry, who agreed to provide funding and to donate cosmetics for use in the group makeover sessions. The American Cancer Society (ACS) was the second collaborator, providing a vital, national network for cancer patients seeking information and access to the program. Finally, the National Cosmetology Association (NCA) agreed to become the third collaborator, encouraging cosmetologists to volunteer their services to the program. With that, Look Good…Feel Better became the official name.
Jeff Neidig, of area Medi-Wise Pharmacy, helps to coordinate the LGFB program in our region and works closely with Lauren Lefler, a licensed cosmetologist that conducts workshops at Medi-Wise from time to time.
“Look Good...Feel Better is a free national public service program that helps female cancer patients improve their appearance and self-image by teaching hands-on beauty techniques,” Lefler said. “It is actually a two-hour, hands-on workshop which includes a 12-step demonstration of makeup application and instructions relating to hair loss, including wigs, turbans, and scarves. It is very personalized and helpful for many women that attend.”
According to Lefler, the LGFB program is also offered to teenagers and a self-help brochure is now available for male patients.
“Any area cancer patients can call the American Cancer Society at 800-227-2345 to make an appointment with a local facility such as Medi-Wise Pharmacy or they visit the website at http://lookgoodfeelbetter.org. There are several LGFB facilities and patients can choose whichever one best suit’s their location.”
Kavanaugh is still active in the organization today and said it is his goal to continue expanding the program to better serve patients throughout the nation.
“We are very proud of how the program has grown over the past decade,” he said. “It is our goal to expand the program so that every person with cancer can benefit from it.”
Since its inception, Look Good...Feel Better has served 550,000 women, and the cosmetic industry has donated more than $113 million in product and financial support. The program has become the second most requested program offered by the American Cancer Society. With the implementation of the Spanish-language program, Luzca Bien Sientase Mejor, and Look Good...Feel Better for Teens, the program now serves women in the Hispanic community and teens with cancer.
“I believe each person deals with their fight with cancer differently,” Lefler said. “But having a strong support system always seems to help the patient stay strong and well spirited. Talking openly about their illness can help the patient come to terms with their own feelings about cancer. LGFB also gives patients an opportunity to meet others going through a similar situation. It’s a great program to be a part of.”
For more information about the program or to locate a session near you, call 800-395-LOOK, contact the American Cancer Society or visit the Look Good...Feel Better website at http://lookgoodfeelbetter.org.
Published: October 25, 2011