My name is Kelly. I am a women’s fitness coach and a mum of two. I lost my mother Rosario to breast cancer in January 2019, not long after Christmas.
Mum received her diagnosis after an ultrasound and biopsy; triple negative cancer – one of the most aggressive types of breast cancer. We were in shock and I must admit, in a bit of denial that it was actually happening.
As a women’s fitness coach my immediate instinct was to help her as best as I knew how to – by helping her improve her nutrition, getting her onto a light exercise program, and helping her implement lifestyle habits that would ensure she was in the best state once she started her treatment.
When Mum’s treatment first commenced, it didn’t really seem to affect her. But as the weeks went by, I could see it was affecting her more and more. The most difficult and most painful time was when she started to lose her hair.
Within two months of starting treatment, she had lost all her hair, eyelashes and brows. Many times she broke down and cried as, on top of the stress of all the chemo treatments, her self-confidence was low. She would say she felt ugly and cry and I would hug her and hold her and tell her she was beautiful, but she didn’t believe it.
A nurse had showed Mum a Look Good Feel Better pamphlet and suggested that she attend a workshop. She was told she was allowed to take a support person with her and she asked me if I could make it. I always made sure I could go to all her appointments with her; whether it was chemo or doctors visits or blood tests, I was always there. So I said yes, of course I’ll come.
It was a few months before Christmas in 2017 and it was the first time I had ever heard of the Look Good Feel Better program. We arrived at the workshop and met nine other women of all ages who were undergoing cancer treatment. Each woman had her own place setting and ‘Confidence Kit’ with all types of make-up and skin care that they could use throughout the workshop and then take home with them.
During the workshop they were taught how to care for their skin, how to put on make-up, how to style scarves onto their beautiful bald heads, how to choose a wig that felt comfortable, and they were made to feel like themselves again.
I remember that day so vividly. I took so many photos of Mum at the workshop – the smile on her face as she drew on her eyebrows and practiced putting on her make-up, and the big grin on her face once she put on her wig and showed off her made-up face.
Mum looked so happy, confident and radiant at the end of the workshop. I always thought she looked beautiful, but it was the first time in a long time that she actually FELT BEAUTIFUL!
Because of her experience at the workshop, that day her self-confidence came back. Just seeing her smile made me so grateful that a program like this exists.
Because I personally witnessed the positive impact the Look Good Feel Better program had on my Mum, I’m so passionate about sharing her experience and doing what I can to show my support.
I recently held a fundraising day through my personal business and with the help of my amazingly generous community, we raised enough money to fund an entire Look Good Feel Better workshop for 10 participants.
This Christmas, my hope is that as many of you as possible will also support this fantastic program. Four years later the experience my Mum had still means the world to me – it really does make a difference, not only to the participants but also their families.
If you’re able to give a gift to Look Good Feel Better this Christmas to allow them to continue helping those undergoing cancer treatment, please do.