Blackpool Victoria Hospital makes ladies feel beautiful again

Terri Dennis takes part in the make-up lesson

Life is hard enough for women who have cancer, but losing eyebrows and hair can make things feel even worse.

Luckily, local charity volunteers provide free skincare and make-up workshops at Blackpool Victoria Hospital each month.

Originating in America, the Look Good Feel Better charity currently runs 90 workshops in hospitals and cancer centres all over the country.

With more than a combined 30 years in the beauty industry, Dawn Zerbinati and Anne Smart have co-ordinated the workshops at the hospital for the last four years.

Various companies, such as Boots No7 and Clinique, donate make up and skincare goods which each lady receives to keep in a special bag.

Make up artist Michelle Weaver with Edith Currie 

Dawn, Anne and a couple of helpers demonstrate how to apply make-up especially around eyebrow and eyelash loss.

The ladies each have a mirror to practice the techniques. The group also learns about how cancer treatments affect the skin and how to help combat possible problems.

Anne said: “We love the feeling that we are making a big difference to ladies living with cancer.

“When they first come into the room, they are a bit apprehensive, but by the time they leave, you can see their confidence has grown.”

Dawn added: “We get a buzz from helping the ladies have a good feeling about themselves. The workshop helps them feel feminine again and it’s nice that women can empower other women.”

Anne Smart, Dawn Zerbinati, Michelle Weaver and Maureen Forrest with Catherine Davies

After the workshop finishes, the group also get to speak to local hairdresser and Mirror Talk salon owner, Janet Stewart, who was once part of the same group as a cancer patient.

She said: “I was once sat where these ladies are around three years ago. I thought that ladies would benefit from information about their hair.

“I have been hairdressing for 40 years and it is my passion, so I asked support manager Catherine Davies if I could participate.

“Like the ladies from Look Good Feel Better, I come into the workshop once a month to talk about hair care and hair loss.

“I’m very lucky to be able to get treatment kits donated from hair company Wella that the ladies can take home with them. I also offer these specialist Nioxin hair systems in my salon and I enjoy giving something back.”

One lady who took part in the course was 43 year-old Claire Connor from Blackpool.

She said: “I don’t recognise myself anymore.

Tracey Whiteside, Janet Grace, Janet Stewart, Claire O’Connor and Catherine Davies

“It’s so nice to be able to open up to others who understand exactly how you are feeling and that you are not on your own.”

“It’s nice to feel normal again. I’m glad I came.”

Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Manager, Catherine Davies, said: “The workshops provide a day where ladies can come in and it’s not about the cancer, it’s about them.

“They can get to make new friends who know how everybody else feels. A lot meet up again further down the line to see how each other are doing. It’s all really positive.”

The workshops are held 11 months of the year and any lady with a cancer diagnosis is entitled to one session.

The workshop is also happy to except ladies living elsewhere in Lancashire and South Cumbria.

For further information, please call Catherine Davies on 01253 955710

Advice for gentlemen can be found on the Look Good Feel Better website here:

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