cancer patient makeover day


Once a month for nearly 10 years, Joanne McDonough of Joya Beauty and now Lena Hartford of Hair That Moves pack up their black cases stocked with beauty supplies to participate in a program called Look Good Feel Better at the Seacoast Cancer Center at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital in Dover, New Hampshire. Sponsored by the American Cancer Society, this is a gals-only group for women undergoing cancer treatments to learn about caring for their skin and applying make-up, as well as managing their hair and/or wigs no matter what stage in the process.

Longtime friends and colleagues, I was truly touched when Joanne and Lena asked me to help them do something a little extra special for their friends this month: makeover photos! This time the ladies wouldn't be learning a lesson like usual, but were pampered by the pros and each was treated to a new wig.

We gathered in the cancer center's hospitality room and as Joanne and Lena did their thing, the group of women gathered around a table sharing stories and information, offering encouragement and asking questions as they went along. Two women realized they would be in treatment together at the same time the next week, the first time for one of the women. They swapped numbers and talked about what to expect. Another woman was struggling with losing her hair and hadn't yet tried on a wig. Fighting tears (she and the rest of us), she retrieved a wig from her car and decided this would be a safe setting to conquer that step. Another was just finishing her treatments so this was a celebration for her. The emotions ran the gamut.

One by one, I guided the women through a quick headshot to showcase their finished results and they received prints to share with loved ones for the holidays. The nervous ladies who started the morning as strangers, later sat in front of me with beautiful confidence. This program is certainly aptly named.

Joanne and Lena, you are simply the best. Thank you so much for sharing your hearts with me time and time again. And to these lovely women, your bravery has inspired me beyond words. I will forever remember our morning together. I'm rooting for you!!


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