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Is 2015 your year to volunteer

Tegan Frost, manager of Silk spa in Taranaki, shares why she loves to give her time as a Look Good Feel Better volunteer, and why she thinks you should too.

Look Good Feel Better began in 1987, when the daughter of the owner of an American cosmetic company realised what a little bit of make-up could do for cancer patients. Feeling that she had lost her identity after losing all of her hair, eyelashes and eyebrows during cancer treatment, she received a morale boosting makeover from her firm. Wanting to bring the same benefit to other female cancer patients, she independently approached the major cosmetic companies to enlist their support to provide free cosmetic/skincare classes for cancer patients. This is how Look Good Feel Better was born.

Look Good Feel Better now operates in 26 countries around the world. In 1992, in an effort to give back to the community that supports their industry, the member companies of the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association (CTFA) pledged their commitment to women with cancer. The CTFA Foundation was established to deliver the Look Good Feel Better programme in New Zealand as the cosmetic industry’s charity of choice.

Today, Look Good Feel Better is New Zealand’s only charitable cancer programme dedicated to empowering New Zealanders to manage the effects that cancer and its treatment can have on their appearance. Since its inception, Look Good Feel Better has helped over 34,000 Kiwis across the country through its classes.

How did you get involved in LGFB?
My Aunty had attended a few workshops over her 24-year battle with cancer, and she spoke so positively about the experience. She always said it was something she knew I would enjoy. It wasn’t until my aunty passed away and I received a bag of her make-up as a keepsake, that I found an old “Look Good Feel Better” brow pencil, that night I tracked down my local organiser Rachael Lintd and signed up as a volunteer. When I looked into LGFB, I found it was everything I had been looking for in a charitable organisation, exactly how I wanted to give back to my community.

Tell me about your first work shop?
The very first time, I felt nervous. I wasn’t 100 percent sure what was expected of me, and I didn’t want to let anyone down, especially my lovely patient. I have a background as a beauty therapist so I just relied on that experience to help me get through. From the minute I walked in the door all of my nerves disappeared. It started with my organiser’s lovely welcoming smile, to the warm welcome I received from the other volunteers, some of which I had met before. Then I met my lovely patient and the time quickly slipped away filled with laughter, fun and pampering.

What is involved in a workshop?
After we are assigned our patient for the workshop, we begin by a quick introduction of ourselves to the group. This is the part that showed me you don’t have to be working in the beauty industry at all to become a volunteer. Anyone can as long as you have a genuine love of caring and pampering.

Volunteers come in all different ages, with varying professions.

Rachel, our coordinator, stands at the front of the room with a patient and she will take us through a step by step beauty routine. Starting with cleanse, tone and moisturise right through to make up application starting from foundation, and blush to eye makeup and lipstick to follow. All the time explaining why and how to use each product, and the best part is our patient gets to take home and keep everything we use after the workshop.

Patients can choose to sit back and relax or to actively participate in learning new techniques on how to work with make up to help them get through the challenge they face.

After the makeovers each patience gets a professional photo taken of them, so they can remember how good they looked and felt that day.

What do you love about LGFB?
There are so many things I love about being a member of this incredible organisation. One is I love how spot on the team at LGFB NZ are with cosmetic colour assigning. The patients fill out an online form prior to coming to a work shop that asks them questions like their favourite colours, skin tone and skin type, etc. From all the information gathered they then hand pick from a range of donated products and create each patient’s individual make-up kit. It is these products the volunteers use to make them feel beautiful, and I have never seen them get it wrong. But the thing I love the most is my patients face after they see themselves in the mirror, I love that look when someone feels truly beautiful.

What advice do you have for someone thinking about signing up to volunteer?
Just do it. It is such a privilege to belong to such an amazing organisation. You get to meet some truly beautiful people, and you get to give such a special gift to someone who is genuinely deserving of a little sparkle. My only regret is that I didn’t volunteer sooner.

Find your local organisation here www.lgfb.co.nz

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