I am a 37-year-old mum of two gorgeous boys – Morgan (10) and Tyler (6), and my husband Danny and I have called the Northern Territory home for 11 years now. I have been an Occupational Therapist for 15 years and specialise in geriatric care, management and enablement which is a passion of mine. I love spending time in our garden, spending time with friends, walks with our dog around town and along the beach, and anything crafty – especially crocheting. All our extended family live in Victoria and as such, we are privileged to have ever-present support and love through our ‘Darwin family’ – friends and their children, and colleagues that have become our close family. I am fondly dubbed “Crazy Aunt Flo” by my adopted Darwin family, and I pride myself in being able to always look on the light side of life, with a smile on my face and a laugh ready to sprout.

I had found out I was pregnant with our third child in October 2019 and due to feeling run-down and a bit crook, my lymph nodes on my neck became enlarged, which was a usual thing for me when I was getting sick. Over the following weeks, however, as I started feeling better the lymph node on the left side of my neck did not go back down, and instead continued to rapidly grow. I was experiencing the standard symptoms of the early stages of pregnancy – nausea, weight-loss, loss of appetite, hot sweats/flushes, and fatigue – but later found out these are the same symptoms of Non-Hodgkin’s Burkitt’s Lymphoma. Within five weeks from the day I presented to my wonderful GP, and after a fine needle biopsy, core biopsy, three hour MRI, bone marrow biopsy and countless blood tests, I received my diagnosis.

My initial reaction was a mixture of grief and shock but also relief that we finally knew what it was, and we could move on to treating it. Heartbreakingly though, because of the treatment for this aggressive cancer we lost our little boy at 14-weeks’ gestation in November 2019.

Following my treatment, I was recovering at home and was regularly seeing ads for Look Good Feel Better on TV. I had also seen a poster for the workshops at my treatment centre, however the workshop dates initially seemed to fall right in the middle of treatment when I was too exhausted to care, or it was ‘too far off’ to plan for. I have always had a secure knowledge of beauty care and make-up prior to my diagnosis and had sewn up some head caps and watched videos on how to wrap head-scarfs myself when I commenced treatment, so I felt that since I had completed my treatment and my hair was growing back, I didn’t ‘deserve’ to take part in a workshop. The feeling of not being a ‘cancer patient’ anymore was weird, as my ‘active’ part of treatment was complete.

I had attempted to put on my usual makeup during my treatment at Christmas, however it felt too heavy and my skin felt clogged and itchy. Also, the mere thought of applying anything more to my face than my standard moisturiser was utterly exhausting! I eventually realised that I deserved to treat myself to an opportunity to care for myself and the new me in my ‘new normal’ post cancer treatment, and thought that even if I only learned one thing from participating in a workshop, that would be enough. I was also wanting to connect with women who have been through a similar experience. I realised that my whole person – including my skin-care needs – had changed since my cancer diagnosis, and I needed support and information from those in the know.

I registered for a workshop, but unfortunately because of the impact of COVID-19, it had to be cancelled. That wasn’t going to stop me getting the Look Good Feel Better experience though, and I was thrilled when I learned from the Look Good Feel Better team that Virtual Workshops were available to me instead.

After my initial reaction, I quickly became reluctant to register for a Virtual Workshop. It was a little off-putting, as I felt I would enjoy being able to chat with the other participants and volunteers more in person and I also didn’t think my current beauty products would be suitable to enable me to participate. But a free Home-Delivered Confidence Kit was then sent to me and receiving special makeup was exciting and made the thought of a Virtual Workshop even more enticing. The booklet and DVD provided in the Kit were amazing – beautifully set-out and simple yet very informative. And the products – WOW!! I was truly amazed and emotional at the high-quality and range of products included. Opening the box felt like Christmas and I felt confident that with just the products provided, I could have a complete skincare and make-up regime. I was so excited I skipped off to try them all out and they truly made me feel special and beautiful again. When I proudly showed my box of goodies off to friends and family, the resounding response was “you deserve it”. I was truly thankful.

I finally registered for a Virtual Workshop and I’m glad I did. I learnt how to respect and care for my skin and its unique needs following my cancer treatment. Thanks to the simple makeup tips and tricks, the thought of applying makeup was no longer daunting. The valuable things I learnt included how to apply eye-makeup that is simple yet impressive, how to manage dark circles under the eyes, the importance of sunscreen and when to apply it to get the most out of its benefits, and how to manage and draw on eyebrows. The demonstration was amazing and super easy to follow and having the Home-Delivered Confidence Kit made the Virtual Workshop seamless and stress-free. There was no major worry about having to get all the different products ready for the workshop and it made it possible to just sit and relax, and absorb the valuable information being provided.

Participating in the workshop made me feel valued and important – as a member of the community, not just amongst my wonderful friends and family. It made me feel that I was not alone in my experiences and feelings post or during cancer treatment. And it reminded me that there are things to get excited about – even just putting on lipstick and feeling confident that we can rock and embrace our new looks!

I noticed a difference in myself after the workshop and my boys did too. I felt that I wasn’t moping around the house as much with no feeling of purpose whilst I was in the ‘recovery mode’ period. I felt a little spring in my step and I was motivated again to take pride in my appearance – even if just for myself – as it was getting depressing catching glimpses of my drawn-out look in any reflective surface. I took to putting on lippy as I was heading off to bed as I felt like I was going to bed happy! I didn’t mind as much when people saw me out in the community, and my smile was that little bit bigger knowing that I looked and felt accomplished with my ability to kick cancer! My boys seemed happier too and were smiling and more jovial, as I was happier and more at ease.

My life has changed on so many levels since my diagnosis. My relationship with my husband has become stronger than I ever thought possible and we are definitely a marvelous “dynamic duo”. I treasure every moment with by beautiful boys, I value the love and support from friends, our ‘adopted family’ and that of my wonderful family. And the love and support from my mum – both to me and my boys whilst I was undergoing treatment – has strengthened the bond between a mother a daughter to another level.

I feel empowered by my tenacity, internal strength and ability to ‘not stress the small stuff’ and embrace my ‘get on with it’ attitude. I love that my ability to smile throughout this chapter and laugh at all things challenging and positive has enabled me to come out on the other side stronger and more confident in my awesome self.

I would HIGHLY recommend Look Good Feel Better to others going through cancer treatment – no matter what cancer you have been diagnosed with or what treatment you have received. There are so many benefits and gems of information and support that can be obtained through these workshops, helping you to feel human and beautiful again and not just like a pin cushion or patient.

And I would encourage you to ‘Celebrate Confidence’ with Look Good Feel Better in this, their 30th year in Australia, by sending them an anniversary gift in acknowledgement of all they give to those undergoing cancer treatment. Your anniversary gift, no matter how big or small, will be just one more reason for all of us to celebrate.

I found a lump in my breast in August last year, but to be honest I didn’t take it too seriously. I’m a young mum of two daughters, aged 14 and 10, and I didn’t think people like me got cancer with no family history.

When my GP referred me very quickly for a biopsy and further testing I became more concerned, and within four days of my initial check-up I received a breast cancer diagnosis. It completely took the wind out of me. I was shocked, scared and confused. And of course, the biggest question was why me?

As the plans were laid out for my treatment, my breast care nurse told me about the Look Good Feel Better workshops, and I was thrilled at the idea of joining with other women in the same position as me. I knew what was ahead with my chemotherapy and decided to attend early in my treatment to be armed with the tools needed to help me through such a challenging time.

My life very quickly changed and will never be the same again. It now revolves around doctors appointments, tests, treatments, and constant worry and concern about my health, both at this point in time and forever to come. I cannot do the things I once took for granted like being active in the great outdoors with my husband and my girls, going for runs, and catching up with good friends over a coffee. And as expected, losing my hair during chemo was hard, and going out in public took a lot of courage.

But the Look Good Feel Better workshop taught me that it is still ok to want to feel good about myself and how I look. I learnt not only practical tips around make-up and headwear, but I also gained valuable insights from the other participants around how they were coping, and I appreciated them sharing stories and ideas. I came home from the workshop feeling confident and more equipped to face this new season of my life, and I was able to feel better about myself. I have since been able to walk confidently in public as myself, comfortable in how I look right now.

The Look Good Feel Better program is such a valuable tool for women going through cancer treatment. Spending time with the other participants in a safe environment gave me great comfort, as we shared a laugh and some tears together. No one else can understand what you are going through quite like a fellow patient. And the volunteers made me feel so special and valued at a time when I was feeling quite sad and vulnerable. This journey is not an easy road, and the Look Good Feel Better workshops are designed completely with the well-being of participants in mind.

In June of last year, just after my 33rd birthday, I got to experience one of the happiest days of my life – marrying the love of my life, Alan. We have a 3.5-year-old son named Johnathan who was named after Alan’s favourite footy player, Johnathan Thurston. The day was just perfect, with our family and friends together with us to share in our incredible joy.

Three weeks after our wedding, whilst we were away on our honeymoon, I noticed two small lumps in my right breast. I was sure it was nothing as I have no family history of breast or ovarian cancer, but once we returned from our honeymoon, I went to see my doctor who sent me for an ultrasound, just to be safe.

The following day we were off on a familymoon to the Gold Coast and one day after we returned, I was sent for a biopsy on the two small lumps I had found. Within three days my results had come back and when my GP held my hands and said to me “I don’t have good news”, I just cried and cried. I could not control my emotions and I found myself wailing in his office for a good 30 minutes before I could stand up to walk out. After several weeks enjoying the highs of such an incredibly happy time in my life, my world had come crashing down. It was the absolute worst day of my life.

At the beginning of August I underwent a double mastectomy and removal of lymph nodes under my arm, and then commenced a schedule of fortnightly chemo for 8 weeks before moving on to weekly chemotherapy for 12 weeks. I also had 5 weeks of radiation therapy, Monday to Friday. My treatment is due to be complete this month.

I had been feeling a little anxious about the changes I was going to experience as a result of my treatment, and I had seen posts on social media about how fantastic the Look Good Feel Better workshops were. One of the nurses at the chemo infusion centre had raved about the program too, so I booked myself in and was excited to attend.

It was a brilliant workshop where I was able to learn so much about what I can do to feel good, and I enjoyed the opportunity to meet other women who were dealing with a difficult situation, like me.

I learnt how to correctly apply my makeup and in what order, and was also taught about the importance of sunscreen, which I now religiously use every day. I also got some great tips on tying a headscarf, and learned how using a headband under a hat can make such a difference with disguising baldness on the sides of my head.

The best thing about the workshop for me though was the wonderful volunteers who run it. They made me feel so comfortable and they were just so nice.

My Dad said to me a few weeks after the workshop that he thought I had perked up some more, and Mum commented on how great my skin looked. The Look Good Feel Better workshop played a big part in that.

I don’t know why this happened to me. I don’t have a strong family history of cancer. I’m only young. I’m not a carrier of the BRCA gene. I breast fed and I live a relatively healthy life. The odds are in my favour, but this still impacted me and my life has completely changed.

Alan and I had planned to have a second child once we were married. We’ve had to put those plans on hold for now. I am on leave from work and my days are now spent either going to the hospital for treatment, at appointments, or laying on the couch recovering from the chemotherapy. I must admit it hasn’t been all bad change. It has made me realise what a busy and stressful life I was living prior to my diagnosis.

I now appreciate my life much more because I feel I have been “shaken awake”. Once I’m done with treatment, I plan on reprioritising my life and giving myself more time for exercising and eating healthy. I’m going to be okay, I just need to get through this rough patch and I am confident I will come out a stronger and more courageous person.

I’m being well looked after by my family and supported by them, as well as my friends. I am so lucky to have such loving, caring people in my life.

I also have a brilliant team of specialists taking care of me with my best interests at heart, and I’m thankful for services like Look Good Feel Better helping me manage along the way.

My name is Emma and I am a Mum of three beautiful children aged 13, 11 and 6. I celebrated my 40th birthday whilst in hospital having chemotherapy earlier this year, after receiving a cancer diagnosis just after Christmas last year.

My family and I had been living in Shanghai, China for four and a half years and a persistent pain in my neck area led me to see my doctor to have it checked out. I was given a chest x-ray which showed a mass on my lung and my doctor advised us to return to Australia immediately for a proper diagnosis and treatment. Three days later we flew into Sydney and I was referred to a specialist.

After one week and many tests, I was given the diagnosis of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma near my lung and on my pancreas. Initially my husband and I shed a lot of tears together, as the shock of the diagnosis was obviously sudden and unexpected. We told the children next, and then our family members, which was one of the hardest things we’ve ever had to do. Especially at a time of the year that’s supposed to be filled with joy and festivity.

I quickly decided to move forward with positivity and strength, and one of the ways I tackled this was by attending a Look Good Feel Better workshop. My specialist told me about the workshops straight after he gave me my diagnosis. Being the organised person that I am, I booked myself in straight away so I would be prepared for the months ahead and could talk to some like-minded ladies – and I am so glad that I did!

I particularly wanted to be prepared for when the time came that I would lose my hair. I had no idea what it would be like or how it would happen, or how to tie a scarf, or if I wanted to wear a wig. I also had no idea about how to apply makeup correctly or how to take care of my skin with the changes that were to come. I really needed some advice.

I learnt so much from the workshop. From how to care for my skin and scalp, to how to remove makeup, and how to apply it correctly and simply. I had so much fun trying on different wigs, scarfs and turbans and talking with the other participants about some of their experiences. I walked away feeling confident and beautiful. I made several friends during the workshop and we’ve kept in contact and still support each other, which has been invaluable in my recovery. It’s hard to believe these workshops are absolutely free to cancer patients but I’m so thankful for the generosity of those in the community, like yourself, who donate to the program so that it can continue to run.

Receiving my diagnosis was difficult. We have had to re-settle ourselves back into Australia and our children into new schools. I also have to travel four hours to the hospital to receive my treatment, and then stay in hospital for five days at a time away from my family, which is challenging but necessary in order for me to get better. I’m so thankful that my husband and children are all very caring towards me and help me to do things when I’m not quite feeling well or need to rest. This has been the hardest thing for me to adjust to, as I’ve always been a person that loves helping others, but find it difficult to accept help myself.

Accepting help from Look Good Feel Better, though, is something I’m so glad I did do, and would encourage others to do also. The workshop really prepares you for the road ahead by giving you the tools to keep you feeling confident in yourself, positive and strong – three of the biggest and most important factors needed, I believe, in fighting your cancer.

My family and I have just moved back to a small rural town on the mid north coast of NSW, and we’ll be enjoying our first Christmas on our sustainable farm that we’ve set up on 2 acres. We plan to spend the holidays with our animals, tending to our fruit and vegetables and enjoying a recovery from treatment surrounded by nature. We have just added our first chickens to our farm and the children are enjoying handling them, making their chicken shed clean and comfortable, saving food scraps for them and of course collecting their eggs! We were excited to receive our first bee hive in preparation for Spring time and look forward to observing and learning about bees as well as devouring the delicious honey they will provide us with.

For the past two years I have been studying a Bachelor of Social Work and throughout my journey with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, I have had the chance to meet several social workers at different hospitals who have helped my family navigate the highs and lows we’ve experienced. Once my treatment is completed, I look forward to working towards graduation day, hoping that I can use my experiences to help patients in the future and of course will continue spreading the word about Look Good Feel Better so all those who could benefit from the program get the opportunity to.

And I hope that you will do your part too. As a Christmas gift to families like mine, I ask you to please consider making a donation to the Look Good Feel Better program and help spread the word. Your support will ensure that women, men and teens across Australia will be able to face their cancer with confidence in the coming year.

My partner and I met in Australia and moved to London together four years ago when I was 23 years old. I am self-employed, providing consulting and training services in the data protection and IT governance environment for businesses. I set-up the business when I was living in the UK alongside co-founding a cybersecurity startup with exciting new opportunities.

Whilst living in the UK, I noticed a pea-sized lump in my neck. It was around for a few weeks and I didn’t think much of it. Then over two days, the lump grew from the size of a pea to the size of a golf ball and I knew I had to immediately get it checked.

I wasn’t actually worried about it at all at first; the three week process was that it was just a cist and we were testing to be sure, so I went to my hospital appointment for the results by myself. But the ultrasound and biopsy confirmed a cancer diagnosis – Hodgkins Lymphoma.

When I was first told, I didn’t really comprehend what it was. I immediately started asking questions about a solution. When the doctor mentioned that a few months of chemotherapy would be required, everything sank in and I was an emotional mess.

I spent the next 48 hours telling my family, calling all my clients and dropping out of work, and packing up our apartment to fly home to Australia immediately for treatment. The decision was made instantly as there wasn’t any way I’d be tackling this alone in the UK.

After receiving my diagnosis, everything stopped. The financial position my partner and I had forecasted we would be in by this time so we could start achieving our future plans was disrupted, and emotionally I felt like my life was ‘taken’ from me. However, you do gain a new appreciation for everything you ever had, realise you can earn it all back, and you start to move forward.

When I was offered the chance to attend a Look Good Feel Better workshop, I wasn’t reluctant to attend. I know someone who was reluctant because she didn’t want to feel like she had cancer, and such a workshop would confront that, but we actually ended up attending together and it felt like a great opportunity for friends to just hang out and get some make-up tips.

The workshop delivers exactly what it offers – it makes you look good and feel better. Not just because of the make-up or headwear, but also because you have a chance to spend time with other women who are dealing with the impact of their condition. The challenge of managing the physical side effects is one hundred times better when you’re not trying to figure it out on your own.

How to properly draw on eyebrows and put colour back in my cheeks was key for me, but being able to just let go of all the stresses that cancer causes due to physical changes and to be looked after for those two and a half hours is incredible. The whole workshop was stress-free and fun.

My partner Craig and I have been together for 8 years and I have two sons and two grandchildren. Craig and I migrated to Perth from the UK when my sons were 24 and 26, married and excelling in their respective careers. It was a very difficult decision to move to the other side of the world and leave behind my family, but we knew it was a fantastic opportunity and we were very lucky that our family supported our decision.

In November last year after a routine mammogram, I received a call to advise an area of calcium had been identified and a core biopsy was required. Two days later I had an appointment to discuss the results and Craig and I were told the devastating news that I had cancer in my left breast. We were shocked, speechless, and initially unable to ask any questions. I was holding back my tears, my mouth was dry, and I felt completely numb. I don’t actually remember leaving the hospital after receiving the diagnosis. The last thing I remember is sitting in the car and calling my sister, crying uncontrollably and unable to speak.

Reality kicked in quickly, as only three weeks after my diagnosis I was having surgery to remove a tumour from my left breast and three lymph nodes from under my left armpit. I then required a second surgery in January and another nine lymph nodes were removed. In total after the two surgeries, 6 out of the 12 removed nodes were cancerous. And it was an aggressive cancer – grade 3, stage 2.

A plan was put in place. I was to have a CT scan, bone scan, six sessions of chemotherapy every 21 days, and then finally six weeks of radiotherapy, 5 days a week. I knew my future was going to be a life-changing, challenging experience and certainly not one I had ever expected.

My medical team at Royal Perth Hospital recommended the Look Good Feel Better program to me and encouraged me to attend a workshop. I wasn’t initially keen to attend as I didn’t know anything about it or what to expect, other than it was highly recommended and it would be provided to me free-of-charge as a community service. I learnt that it’s the generosity of the community and corporate donors that ensures patients like me can benefit from the program.

On the day of my workshop, I had not yet started treatment and I felt apprehensive and nervous. I waited outside the workshop room with reality looking at me; the thought of losing my hair was very scary and most ladies waiting for the workshop to start had already lost theirs. I was not emotionally prepared for how I was feeling and wanted to leave. When I sat down in the room, tears started pouring down my cheeks.

Reflecting on the workshop, the whole experience was a big part of my journey and I am so very glad I attended. I left feeling as if it was all going to be ok, as I’d learned I wasn’t alone on this journey and realised how much help and support was available not only to me, but all women going through cancer treatment.

Although I had always worn make-up, I learned new techniques for its application and also learned how to care for my skin; both during treatment, and after I had finished. My friends and family have complemented me on how good my skin looks and how well my make-up has been applied.

It also helped me with my emotions surrounding hair loss and made me realise how many different options are available for head coverings. The demonstration of wigs and headwear was amazing; it gave me so many inspirational ideas whilst also being a lot of fun! I now have several wigs and options of head wear, having been given plenty of great advice from the Look Good Feel Better volunteers.

I thoroughly enjoyed the experience as I was able to gain strength and confidence and laugh. I would highly recommend that each and every person that is offered the chance to attend a Look Good Feel Better workshop take part. I’m so grateful it was part of my journey because the boost in my confidence, the emotional support and the kindness meant a lot to me and made a huge difference.

My little family immigrated to Australia five years ago from Johannesburg. My husband, two beautiful girls – aged 8 and 7 – and I love our life in Sydney and we spend our time exploring its beaches, restaurants, museums and cafes. We enjoy a healthy, outdoor lifestyle as much as possible.

When my doctor discovered a lump during a routine yearly check-up, it was the last thing I had expected. I had a good fitness regime, I was feeling really healthy and was getting stronger and fitter – I never got sick.  An ultrasound led to a mammogram, which led to a biopsy, which came back as a cancer diagnosis. I was shocked and scared – how could I have breast cancer at 34 years of age?  With no family history?

I had surgery and it was considered a success, but as my cancer had spread to my lymph nodes, I needed to undergo a course of chemotherapy. This of course meant losing my hair.  My nurse suggested I attend a Look Good Feel Better workshop to help me learn some useful ways to manage the changes I was experiencing to my appearance. While I was offered practical guidance about make-up and skin care, I was really interested in mastering head coverings and found the advice on scarves and scarf styling invaluable.  Mostly though, it was really beautiful to connect with other women in a similar position and I felt so encouraged by the lovely volunteers.

I am very much a changed person.  I went from being an extremely energised, fit and strong independent woman to a frail, sickly, fatigued person who needed help all the time.  But I try to stay positive because life happens and you’ve got to adjust and work with the direction it’s sending you in. We all chant these mantras, that whatever life throws at you, you’ve got to make the most of it. And my experience has taught me that you have to still live. You have to still find the joy in every day.

“Around this time last year – not long before Christmas – I noticed a small lump above my right collar bone and after a visit to my GP, an ultrasound and a needle biopsy was arranged. Shortly after, I had surgery to remove swollen lymph glands, which confirmed a diagnosis of blood cancer – Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.  My initial reaction was disbelief.

My father unfortunately passed away from Acute Myeloid Leukemia in 2014 after a four-year battle. His passing seems like only yesterday.

I am 31 years old.  I have a beautiful Mum, and three older siblings as well as six nieces and nephews. I work in architecture and interior design and I have built my own practice that has now been running for five years. Once treatment commenced I, of course, had concerns for my family and my business, my staff and my clients. But I had hoped that everything would be ok.

Half way through my treatment earlier this year, a friend I had made through a Lymphoma website who had also been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma suggested we attend a Look Good Feel Better workshop together. The workshop was our first chance to catch up.

Other than being shown how to draw on my eyebrows and learning that they are “sisters and not twins”, it was lovely to connect with other women going through cancer. The main thing I learned was that a simple activity – like a group of women getting together to learn how to put on make-up and tie headscarves – can bring people together. It was more about the conversations for me.

I was surprised to learn that Look Good Feel Better – a free national service for cancer patients – doesn’t receive any government funding. It’s the generosity of the community and people like you that ensures patients can continue to benefit from the program.

I would definitely recommend Look Good Feel Better to others going through treatment for cancer, as it’s a great way to connect with people in a similar situation, in a safe environment. As a Christmas gift to those who need it most, I ask you to please consider making a donation to the program. Your gift will ensure Look Good Feel Better can continue to support patients like me across Australia in the coming year.

I finished treatment in April this year and still have the same job, the same house, a lot of the same friends, and of course my incredible family by my side; and I am so looking forward to celebrating with those who mean the most to me this festive season.

I hope you will consider making a donation to Look Good Feel Better before the year draws to a close.  I was so happy to have the chance to attend the workshop and I hope that other cancer patients will be able to benefit from the service in the coming year.  Please make a donation today”.

“After noticing a lump on my left leg, I took myself to the doctor.  The lump was thought to be a fatty cyst and I was referred to a surgeon to have it removed.  As a precautionary measure, the removed tissue was tested and I will never forget the look on the surgeon’s face when he sat me down with the results and said – “I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but you have cancer”.

I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and from there began all the x-rays, MRI’s, heart scans and CT scans – I had no idea there were so many machines!  And then the chemotherapy and sessions of radiotherapy commenced.

I am 59 years old and have been married to my husband, David, for 35 years.  We have two beautiful daughters – Jessica and Alexandra – and four absolutely amazing grandchildren.  Cancer wasn’t on my agenda, but unfortunately it doesn’t discriminate.  And the irony of my diagnosis was that I had no symptoms and was feeling better than ever.

I was quite nervous when I attended my Look Good Feel Better workshop.  I had lost all my hair and my eyebrows, and was thinking I was the only person that looked like this.  On arrival at the workshop I was met by a lovely volunteer who directed me to my seat in a room filled with women who were younger and older, and clearly at different stages of their treatment.  My nerves soon faded because everyone was so welcoming, and by the time the workshop finished I felt a little more attractive and worthwhile, and we all left with a smile.  The cosmetic gifts we received were also wonderful.

I have been cancer free for one year now and there are so many things that I still have to do!  I have to have fun, go on holidays, love and cuddle my grandchildren, and share stories with them.

Cancer changes lives, people and families and it has taught me that life is so precious and it can change in a second.  I don’t let little things eat away at me anymore and I don’t stress over silly things.  I am not so judgemental, as I understand that everyone is fighting their own battles.

I would recommend Look Good Feel Better to all women going through treatment.  It is an activity that actually makes you feel better about yourself and it’s also comforting to know that there are others out there feeling just the same as you.”

“After a month of various tests, one appointment with my specialist changed everything. He sat me down and told me that I had cancer.  It was a stage 3/4 diagnosis and I replied to him with a giggle that I don’t do things in half measures. I don’t think he knew what to do with my humour – I was a little shocked but what was I to do?  It was what it was.

I am a strong and independent 36-year-old woman who loves life, loves being creative, loves people and loves the challenge of a project as well as my bulldog, vintage clothing and white top stitching on anything! I have been married to my best friend for 16 years and am the mother of three beautiful children aged 9, 6 and 2. My family are my sanctuary and so very important to me. I live in South West WA on the beautiful coast in Bunbury. I enjoy everything about living in a regional city. Beach walks, beautiful food and the best coffee are all on my doorstep as well as the emphasis on family life. It’s a treat raising my kids here.

It was curiosity that took me to the Look Good Feel Better workshop as I wanted to see what I could do to help my appearance through this chapter in my life. It was one thing having cancer, but I didn’t want to always look like I had cancer.

I was blown away by the extensive knowledge and expertise of the Look Good Feel Better volunteers who were also very supportive.  I learnt a few different things from the workshop, especially around the importance of sunscreen on my face and my poor bald head. But for me, it was being in a room with other ladies who were in the same boat as me, having a laugh and encouraging each other through what is a life changing experience.  The Confidence Kit I received took me by surprise. It was so generous and to know this was all donated was truly inspiring.

I would definitely recommend Look Good Feel Better to other women going through treatment for cancer. The tips you receive to help yourself not look like a cancer patient are assuring and helpful.  Being in a room of women in the same position as you is also comforting and you walk away empowered to still embrace your femininity, even though some of it has been taken away.

Since my diagnosis, I have had to slow down and rely on other people more than I ever have before. Colours seem more vivid and the kids’ giggles are treasured a lot more. I don’t sweat the small stuff. It has given me a new perspective on the fact that we never know what a person is going through so we need to treat everyone with care and kindness. Life is short and people are important. We should treat them and ourselves accordingly”.

“Before my diagnosis, work was becoming more demanding and I was under a lot of stress just keeping up and balancing home and work life.  The diagnosis came as a break. I stopped everything to focus on myself; to think, to be calm, to relax and to get ready for the treatment that was to come.

My cancer was self-examined. I had two lumps in my breast, one of which was near my upper ribs. It was initially thought to be nothing – perhaps a swelling of the cartilage to my ribs – and the x-ray that was ordered to examine the bone showed all was normal. But I knew that something was not quite right, so got a second opinion from another doctor. From there, all was set in motion with a quick succession of examination, biopsy, and diagnosis.

The waiting period before the news was emotional. It is not something you think would happen to you if you’ve done all the right things to keep healthy. I am in my late 40’s and have been active and healthy my whole life; traveling, working and raising a family.

I have a husband, two children in their early teens, and elderly parents whose care I share with my five brothers and sisters. The fear I had for my family and myself was overwhelming. My mind was preoccupied with many questions and doubts, and thinking of worst-case scenarios. It did take a long time before I could see the bright side of recovery. The fear put me into a frenzy but it is something I got over when I had a plan; over time, I accepted that I just had to get through each phase.

Though well meaning, I wanted to get away from the talk of treatment with family and friends, which is why I booked into a Look Good Feel Better workshop. I wanted to do something that didn’t have a focus on medicine and appointments. Meeting women similar to myself – not ‘patients’ – made it feel good.

I picked up some makeup tips and realised that not having eyebrows is not the end of the world! I got useful advice on headwear and skin care as well.  But what I appreciated the most was the feeling of genuine care from the volunteers for the wellbeing of participants. You can tell they love doing the workshops.

My experience after the workshop was just as wonderful, as I could talk to my children and my husband about something other than treatment! It was a happy and fun experience and sharing that with them made us all feel really good. It was a more than welcome distraction.

I would definitely recommend Look Good Feel Better to others going through treatment.  It is something nice and unexpected that helps lift your mood. It gave me a change of pace that I really needed in the middle of some very unpleasant times.

These days, on my weekends I spend time with my parents to just “be” and make up for time missed whilst overseas. I have developed an interest in photography through documenting my growing children and I enjoy taking photos of their sports as a way to participate in the sport with them.  I think my life is more multi-dimensional now than it has ever been. I’m a parent, a child, a carer and happy doing as much as I can – including taking on a new puppy who is currently 12 weeks old!”

“Initially, I thought I had appendicitis. After a week of putting off scans and blood tests, it was a trip to emergency with the most excruciating pain I have ever felt. A tumour on the outside of one of my ovaries caused it to twist and become necrotic. It was removed and tested. It was difficult for the pathologists to be conclusive and as a precaution, I had a hysterectomy two months later.

This year has been eventful to say the least. I turned 50 and celebrated 20 years of marriage to the man I met in kindergarten! My eldest daughter started year 11 and my youngest started high school. Luckily, they have managed to cope with my cancer diagnosis very well.

Honestly, the bigger trauma for me, my husband and my two girls was me having to go through the grueling process of chemotherapy and as a result, losing my hair. Going bald was my 50th birthday present! For a short time, there was even a competition between me and our Labrador Retriever, Charlie, to see who could leave the most amount of hair on the floor!

It was one of the lovely nurses at the chemo intro session that told me to consider the Look Good Feel Better workshop. She spoke highly of how beneficial others had found the workshop. But what really sealed the deal was hearing from a friend (who I knew didn’t really spend much time or effort when it came to make-up) how much she gained from attending.

I went along and sure enough I had a great time. I learned things from how to use eyeliner to cover up the fact that you have no eyelashes, to the proper way to apply blush!

I loved the headwear demonstration, especially trying on different wigs, colours and styles. Being brunette, I’ve always wanted to know what I would look like being blonde without the chemicals! I think I could pull off the blonde do.

On a serious note, the best thing about the workshop was being in a room with a group of lovely women, all going through trauma, but all laughing at themselves trying on different hairstyles and scarves, and experimenting with different make-up application.

After attending the workshop, my daughters were particularly impressed that I could draw on eyebrows that looked better than my real ones!

I would definitely recommend Look Good Feel Better to women of all ages who are going through cancer treatment. If for no other reason than to be able to spend some fun time with others in a similar situation where they will find more empathy than sympathy.

This last six months has been the longest time I have been off work since maternity leave 12 years ago. In between chemo, I have been able to catch up with friends that I hadn’t seen for a long time. I could pick my girls up from school, and go to all the daytime school events that I normally would have missed out on. I have become a little less tolerant of the small things that stress a lot of people. There are so many more important things in life like your family and friends. What doesn’t get done today, can always be done tomorrow!”

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