PRMC Teams Up With ACS To Help Women With Cancer Restore Self-Im - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

PRMC Teams Up With ACS To Help Women With Cancer Restore Self-Image

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SALISBURY, Md. – Peninsula Regional Medical Center and the American Cancer Society are teaming up to help women with cancer cope with their appearance and self-image while undergoing cancer treatment.

Just over a year ago, Sharon Vilmar got a devastating diagnosis – breast cancer.

"Chemo was pretty rough, and I lost my hair, my eyebrows and my eyelashes. It was frightening to think that you were going to probably lose your breasts and be deformed for the rest of your life. That was really scary to me," she said.

She started chemo therapy on Valentine's Day of last year. A few weeks later, her hair began to fall out in clumps.

"My hair is like a security blanket -- and I had long red hair.  Most of my self-esteem went with that," she said.

But that's where PRMC and the American Cancer Society's "Look Good, Feel Better" campaign stepped in to help -- a free program dedicated to teaching female cancer patients personalized beauty techniques.

"If their eyelashes have fallen out, there's a way to put -- just feather the color on so it makes it look like they have eyelashes," cosmetologist Darlene Sholley said.

Each woman receives a complimentary cosmetic kit containing $340 worth of makeup and a 12-step skin care and makeup application lesson.

"We have wigs as well -- which they can leave with the wigs. So we just have fun sitting there and playing with the wigs. The wigs come in different colors, in different styles – they come straight, curly. We show them different techniques with scarves if they prefer to wear a scarf instead of a wig. Then we just all sit around and we literally laugh and have a great time," cosmetologist Barbara Sabo said.

Sharon had her share of fun with the wigs, and walked out a beautiful ginger.

"We found this cute curly wig, and I tried it on and we all laughed. They made fun of me looking like Bett Midler," she said.

She says the experience gave her a boost of confidence, life-long friendships and the support she needed to make it through.

"It really helped me and gave me a sense that there was a reason to keep going."

Sharon's last round of chemo ended in January. She's now in remission, working on gaining her strength and hoping to get back to work soon.

The next "Look Good, Feel Better" event is on March 12 at the Cancer Support Services Office on Riverside Drive at 6 p.m. For more information or to pre-register for a workshop, call 410-543-7209 or 410-546-1200.

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