Day of beauty

March 23, 2009 3:46:39 PM PDT
It's called a day of beauty and four young women, one of them very young, are adding to their own beauty with big smiles.

11-year-old Chanise Harps of Willingboro was diagnosed with brain cancer 7 years ago. Multiple surgeries, along with chemotherapy and radiation, have left her with scars and only patchy spots of hair on her head.

"I don't like people making fun of me."

"Of course kinds don't understand and they were very cruel and didn't want to play with her," said Carolyn Fletcher, Chanise's grandmother.

To help change that Chanise was one of several cancer survivors treated to a free "day of beauty" at the T&I Unisex Salon in Willingboro where customized wigs were created for those who've lost their hair in treatment.

"Customize their color, customize their haircut so they can look as close to what they used to look like before they went through this," explained salon co-owner Trinia McGee.

48-year-old Karen Swanson of Cinnaminson is hoping for that. She's halfway through a 3-month course of chemotherapy for breast cancer and with her hair gone; she's sometimes been uncomfortable going out in public.

"They stare at you a lot, they whisper. I think it bothers them more than it bothers me," she said.

The "day of beauty" is linked to the American Cancer Society's program called Look Good, Feel Better, which helps women cope with what cancer treatment does to their appearance.

They get markings on themselves, their tone changes, their skin tone kind of fades out," said Mary Anne Gosik.

Mary Anne teaches cancer patients how to use make up, scarves and wigs. And what a difference that can all make.

"I feel wonderful, I feel like I'm a whole person again," exclaimed Karen.

Organizers say it's reactions like that that make all their effort worthwhile.

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