State award a good look for Orange cancer service

CONFIDENCE BOOST: The Look Good...Feel Better volunteers Joan Heffer, Varni-Maree Bennett, Jan Pullen, Jennie Sullivan, Linnie Button, Vicki Fardell, Dian Moor, NSW and ACT state program manager Joanne Meehan and Central West Cancer Service oncology staff Benjamin Chapman and Jennifer Pritchard receive the 2014 NSW Venue of the Year award. Photo: STEVE GOSCH

CONFIDENCE BOOST: The Look Good...Feel Better volunteers Joan Heffer, Varni-Maree Bennett, Jan Pullen, Jennie Sullivan, Linnie Button, Vicki Fardell, Dian Moor, NSW and ACT state program manager Joanne Meehan and Central West Cancer Service oncology staff Benjamin Chapman and Jennifer Pritchard receive the 2014 NSW Venue of the Year award. Photo: STEVE GOSCH

THE Central West Cancer Service at Orange hospital has received the 2014 NSW Venue of the Year award from Look Good...Feel Better for its work in helping cancer patients deal with the side effects of treatment.

From 50 locations across NSW and ACT that offer the program, oncology staff and volunteers at Orange were recognised for the contribution they had made to patients’ lives through the program’s free workshops that teach participants beauty techniques to help restore appearance and self-image during chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment.

NSW and ACT state program manager Joanne Meehan said Orange was chosen for the way staff had embraced the program over the 15 years it had been running here, and the number of patients they had helped during workshops.

“For many years we struggled with numbers in the area but since we moved here [to the Bloomfield campus], it’s really taken off,” Ms Meehan said.

“The volunteer team is really accommodating in all ways. They’re reaching out to as many people as possible.”

Workshops are held in Orange every two months, and rely on volunteers from the beauty or hairdressing industries to help participants find the right products and techniques to suit them. 

Ms Meehan said when people were first diagnosed with cancer, their lives changes rapidly and the program was designed to counter this by bringing back a bit of control to patients.

“Everyone feels a little bit tentative when they first arrive at the workshop but, by the end, they’re laughing and chatting because they’ve met people going though similar things and they’ve got a bit more confidence,” Ms Meehan said. 

“It’s not about make-up, it’s about boosting self-esteem and feeling better.”

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