Sam France knows better than most the power of make-up. Having recently graduated from The Make Up School in Auckland, the teen has learnt how to apply different cosmetics for different effects. But it was her own cancer journey that truly taught her how important make-up is.
Sam was 14 when she was diagnosed with lymphoma and in her own words “was at the ugliest point of my life” when she attended a teen-focussed Look Good Feel Better workshop.
The free class taught her how to disguise her cancer, and help her feel normal when around other teens. It changed not only her look, but her outlook, and was the impetus behind her studying at the Ponsonby School.
Now 18, Sam is one of the youngest 450+ volunteers that help people going through cancer treatment – showing women how to draw on eyebrows, how to disguise the gruelling side effects of treatment – and helping them regain their confidence in the process.
One of the youngest to volunteer at Look Good Feel Better workshops, Sam says it is important to her to give back to a cause that helped her so much.
“It changed my whole outlook, and I just loved the difference make-up made,” Sam says. “I’ve been volunteering with Look Good Feel Better for two years now, and it is amazing to see how it helps people transform. When participants learn that I have been in the chair too, they relax a bit more. I know what they’re going through.”
The sessions are a rare appointment that is about them as a person, not a patient. Look Good Feel Better’s General Manager, Clare O’Higgins, says the demand for volunteers within the beauty industry is at its highest. More than 50 Kiwis are diagnosed with cancer every day. The charity works to extend classes to these often very sick people don’t have to travel more than 30 minutes to attend.
“We rely on the generosity of the cosmetic industry for an array of products, and for volunteers. We are brand neutral so anyone can get involved. We understand weekdays are a struggle for most working Kiwis, but any time you can give would help thousands of women not only look good, but feel better,” adds O’Higgins.
During the two to three hour Look Good Feel Better class, volunteers work closely with participants, helping them learn the best methods for skin care and make-up application. Others help out behind the scenes – in the Look Good Feel better warehouse, liaising directly with patients, or managing product allocation. Whether you are a salon professional or simply a caring individual with good organisational, administrative and interpersonal skills, there may be a local Look Good Feel Better volunteer opportunity for you.