Makeover boost for breast cancer patients at Wrexham shopping centre

A support group for women who have been treated for breast cancer got a boost when specially trained beauty experts gave them a make-over.

Beauty consultants Ceri Evans and Emma Nadin at Boots in Wrexham’s Eagles Meadow Shopping Centre have been trained to provide support for cancer patients as part of the long-standing partnership between the chemists and Macmillan Cancer Support.

They swapped their usual place on the shop floor to head for the town’s Nightingale House and Wrexham Breast Cancer Support group, where Teresa Williams was their model for the night.

The 64-year-old  was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer in 2010 after finding a large lump while doing her routine check but the thought of a new grandchild made her determined to tackle the disease.

“When I was diagnosed, the thing that kept me going was seeing my second grandchild born –  my son Bryan already had a daughter Imogen, who is now seven.  I am so pleased that I was able to meet her sister Evie, who is now two,” said Teresa from Poplar Road, Rhostyllen.

“I underwent a mastectomy, followed by chemotherapy at the Shooting Stars centre. Because my cancer was hormone linked I was on Herceptin – however, I had to stop it because I also have a heart condition.

“My husband Chris, who is a taxi driver, along with my son Bryan and his wife Sian were so supportive. My daughter Tracey has cerebral palsy and lives with 24-hour support, and there were times when I was too ill to go and see her.”

While Teresa was being treated for cancer, the mum-of-two faced another blow – she was made redundant from her job in the office of Wrexham’s TJ Hughes Store, when the chain went into liquidation.

“I don’t work now because I get tired so easily,” said Teresa. “I joined the support group a couple of years ago because there are times when you need to talk to somebody going through the same thing as yourself, no matter how long it is since your treatment,”  said Teresa.

“It was fascinating being given the make-over by Ceri and Emma. When you have lost your hair, on your head, your face and elsewhere, you also lose your self-confidence, and it was useful to learn how to deal with that. Also, your skin gets very sensitive, from the drugs, radiotherapy or chemotherapy, and not every beauty consultant understands that.”

In a recent survey, over three quarters of women said the visible side effects of cancer treatment had a negative impact on their confidence, while more than two thirds said they didn’t know how to disguise them.

That’s why the network of Boots Macmillan Beauty Advisors was introduced. For Boots No 7 beauty consultant Ceri, the Feel More Like You service run with MacMillan is a natural extension of the skincare advice she regularly gives to customers.

“It’s a chance to pamper the customer, whether here in the store or in a private room. Taking off a wig or a head scarf in public can be difficult for somebody going through cancer treatment and who has lost their hair and  maybe their eyebrows and lashes,” said Ceri, who has worked with Boots for 35 years.

“The customer is under no obligation to buy any of the products we use or recommend, it’s just a chance for them to relax, take time to talk about how the cancer is affecting their skin, and how it’s affecting them emotionally as well. I want them to feel great by the time they leave,” added Ceri, who lives in Rhosddu.

Emma added: “We need to let more people know about this service, which is a way of getting over the taboo subject which cancer can still sometimes be.

“The makeovers are all about making people feel good about them and we are delighted to provide this free facility in our store.”

The Wrexham Breast Cancer Support Group was set up by Barbara George and Pauline Harding, who have both been through treatment for the disease.

“We meet the first Tuesday of the month at Nightingale House, and the members include those who have just been diagnosed through to those now undergoing treatment, and others who have been treated a few years ago.

“I thought the makeover by Ceri and Emma was fantastic – it was a real help for members to be with somebody who understood their needs. When you are a low time like this you need something to boost your confidence. I’d definitely recommend the service,” added Barbara, who lives in Minera Road, near Cefn y Bedd.

Boots UK colleagues and customers have raised £6 million since the partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support began, and are continuing to raise significant funds for the charity to help to improve the lives of people affected by cancer.

Over 1,000 Boots colleagues have so far given their time to volunteer for Macmillan since the partnership began by supporting local events, campaigning and providing practical and emotional support.

The Macmillan-trained counsellors can also offer advice to those whose partners or relatives are undergoing treatment but don’t feel able to see a beauty consultant.

Chemotherapy can affect finger and toe nails, make them brittle or discoloured, develop lines or ridges, or even fall out. The steroids that are often given with the treatment makes skin prone to spots, similar to acne, or reddening, and can make people allergic to their usual underarm deodorants or their favourite perfume.

Hormonal therapies can cause hair loss or thinning, dry skin, rashes and spots, while targeted therapies can cause the hair to thicker or longer over their body.

Eagles Meadow Manager Kevin Critchley said: “I take off my hat to Ceri, Emma and the rest of the team at Boots. This is a wonderful initiative that is making a positive difference to people at a difficult time in their lives.”

For more details on the Breast Cancer Support group call Barbara on 07714 757270

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