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FROM READERS: MU students want to help women with breast cancer feel beautiful

Thursday, September 5, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CDT; updated 4:10 p.m. CDT, Thursday, September 5, 2013

Kelsey Early is a senior at MU.

During the fall of 2012, one of my aunts was diagnosed with breast cancer. Lifesaving treatment involved a mastectomy, the removal of one breast. I saw firsthand the toll these treatments took on her self-esteem, and realized that though she may not feel beautiful, she was. But how to make her see this? Later in her treatment, she received a consultation from an organization that specializes in fitting bras for women that have had a breast removed. She immediately felt better; almost like herself again.

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Cut to spring of 2013. I headed to my weekly breakfast date with Rachael Brown, a long-time college friend. Over scrambled eggs and coffee, I half-jokingly proposed the idea of a charity fashion show to benefit an organization that helps women in the same position as my aunt: women who had their physical appearance changed due to their cancer treatment. It seemed like a long shot, but Rachael wouldn’t let the idea go.

Now, what started as wishful thinking has since grown into the initial stages of a new Mizzou student organization. But the first hurdle, and perhaps the biggest, was finding a group that was in sync with the purpose we imagined for ourselves. It was far from easy: preliminary searches turned up great organizations, ones that were doing amazing things for women, but none that were The One. But like most things in life, sometimes your path finds you.

We came across Look Good ... Feel Better (LGFB), and from there things just fell into place. LGFB is a national organization that teaches women beauty techniques, and to remember that though “cancer can rob a woman of her energy, appetite and strength, it doesn’t have to take away her self-confidence.” To accomplish this goal, LGFB is partnered with national organizations that provide help and support in a variety of ways. Whether it’s donating makeup, recruiting volunteer aestheticians, or step-by-step makeover workshops, LGFB focuses on the mental and physical health of cancer patients.

Here at Mizzou, we want to raise money for Look Good ... Feel Better by putting on a charity fashion show in April 2014. The goal is to have women from central Missouri who have undergone cancer treatment strut their stuff and stomp out self-doubt with their fierce catwalk. The show will capitalize on Columbia’s thriving arts and fashion scenes to incorporate local elements into a national effort.

As good as our intentions are, we can’t do it alone, so anyone interested in becoming involved with a fantastic organization and two great girls (in my completely biased opinion), should email lgfb.mizzou@gmail.com for an application. We know what we’re doing ... most of the time ... OK sometimes, so outside knowledge is always welcome.

What projects or causes are you passionate about? This story is part of a section of the Missourian called From Readers, which is dedicated to your voices and your stories. We hope you'll consider sharing. Here's how. Supervising editor is Joy Mayer.


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