Experiences look good feel better program and a volunteer in a daycare

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Thank you. November 7, 2011 My client today nearly broke my heart. She was twelve years old and completely bald, and had come in with her mother to the “Look Good, Feel Better” program. Her name was Suzanne, and she had a bright smile and pencil-thin arms. Upon sitting down at my station, she excitedly requested, “Can I be blonde?” I smiled, and replied that she could, of course, receive a blonde wig. I reached for a mid-length, light blonde wig and placed it on her head. When I held up a mirror, she turned to her mother and presented her with a wide smile. “Mom! Check it out! I’m Taylor Swift!” Her mother laughed. I asked the girl if she, like Taylor Swift, was a musician. The girl replied that she had just started to learn the guitar before she became ill, but her hands had become too sensitive to hold down the strings. She told me that she intended to play again after her recovery was complete. Her mother’s eyes filled with tears, and I swallowed a lump in my throat. I wondered if she would, indeed, recover, but discussion of her medical issues was not included in my assignment. My task was to make her feel beautiful, and it seemed as though the process was succeeding thus far. I asked her if she felt like her idol Taylor Swift in the makeup chair, to which she responded with an enthusiastic smile and nod. I showed her the makeup box, filled with donations from local makeup companies. Suzanne exclaimed enthusiastically over everything I pulled out, from moisturizers to eye shadows to lip liners. “I’ve never had a makeover before,” she said. “Can you do my mom, too?” I replied that this was her makeup, and if she wanted to share with her mother, then she could certainly do so. Her eyes grew wide. “It’s mine? Like, I get to keep it?” I responded with a nod and smile, and she leaned across the table and embraced me tightly. She squealed an enthusiastic “Thank you!” I could barely manage to reply in kind, for the humble tears that welled up in my throat. This twelve-year-old girl was a cancer patient and, for all I knew, might never get to dress for her prom. But here she was, smiling eagerly and exclaiming over her first makeover. She could have been any twelve-year-old at the mall, and for twenty minutes, she was. I felt fortunate to be able to give that to her. November 9, 2011 Today at “Look Good, Feel Better,” I had my first difficult patient. The woman who came up to my table seemed very depressed. I understood, of course, but I knew it was going to be a challenge to make her feel beautiful. I asked her if she wanted a wig, but she scowled, claiming that wigs made her scalp itch. I suggested a scarf, and she shrugged. Uncertain if her response indicated assent or dismissal, so I presented her with several colorful scarves. She regarded them for a moment, then shook her head, her expression unchanged. I felt frustrated. My task was to make this woman feel good about herself, and so far I was failing. I glanced at my co-volunteer, Norma, who was draping a purple scarf over a smiling woman’s brown head. I swallowed jealousy. This wasn’t about me. The woman across from me was a cancer patient, and she deserved my best efforts to make her feel beautiful. I opened the box and removed bottles of moisturizer and makeup. I inquired as to if she had any favorite makeup colors, and once again she merely shrugged.

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