With side effects like hair loss, puffy skin and dark circles under the eyes, chemotherapy takes a toll on the self-esteem as well as the body.
Thanks to Chilliwack's Yale Road Shoppers Drug Mart, though, more local women battling cancer will get a chance to look good and feel better while undergoing treatment.
During a month-long fundraising campaign, the local drug store raised $12,341 for
Look Good, Feel Better, a national charity that provides free two-hour w orkshops in 118 cancer centres and hospitals across Canada to help women manage the appearance-related effects of cancer and chemotherapy.
"We've been told it's like a makeover for their spirit," Look Good, Feel Better regional manager Elaine Smith told the Times. "Some of these women walk in and it's clear they're ill, but 100 per cent of the time they walk out with their shoulders back and their head up."
The funds raised at Shoppers will support the monthly Look Good, Feel Better workshop at the Abbotsford Regional Hospital and Cancer Centre, the cancer centre closest to Chilliwack.
On the second Wednesday of every month, Look Good, Feel Better provides women with about $400 worth of skin care products and makeup as well as tips on how best to use them to combat the effects of chemotherapy and cancer.
"We show them how to draw on their own eyebrows again," Smith said as an example. "If they've lost their eyebrows or are expecting to lose their eyebrows, we show them where to place the pencil."
After an hour of skin care and makeup tips, the session turns to wigs, with a presentation by a hair alternative specialist, a.k.a. "wig lady," who gives the women advice on what to look for in a wig salon and what to do with their wigs once they have them.
"We show them how to take care of a wig and how to take care of their heads when they're losing their hair and after they've lost their hair," Smith said.
The sessions are strictly brand neutral and totally confidential, with no men allowed.
"It's to make the women feel comfortable," Smith said.
Once the women have gone through the session, they can find further support at www.facingcancer.ca, an online support group set up by Look Good, Feel Better with help from Shoppers Drug Mart as title sponsor.
Every year, Shoppers stores across Canada raise money for women's health initiatives in their local communities during the Tree of Life campaign.
Chilliwack's Yale Road store had been the top fundraiser in B.C. for three years running and was only beat out this year by a slim $60 margin by the Shoppers in Fort St. John.
"We're motivated and get the whole team involved," said local associate owner Krystal Kieser.