May 19, 2013
A new Charlottesville non-profit is helping cancer survivors regain confidence from the outside in.
Big C New Me enlisted the help of its Power Crew of volunteer professional makeup artists, hair stylists and a photographer to give local cancer survivors a day to remember Sunday.
"Everyone likes a makeover, everyone likes a haircut," said Amy Hart, executive director of Big C New Me. "That really helps people feel energized and a little more positive going forward."
Hart, a survivor herself, knows the struggles of adjusting to a post-cancer body.
"I had a huge scar on my neck and on my nose and my eyes, so that kind of took its toll on me. My husband says it was four years before I really accepted the new me," she said.
Now, she is helping other survivors, like Janet Pompeo, embrace their new bodies and recover their self esteem.
"You lose a little bit of that and you get insecure at times," said Pompeo. "But this builds it all back up -- maybe for a day or two, but it's built up."
The survivors got their makeup done, hair styled, a new outfit and posed for professional photographs to show off their new looks.
"It just makes you feel so alive and so perky, it does. It makes you feel so much better," said two-time cancer survivor Peggy Carter.
While the makeovers help them feel like themselves again, the participants know it's not all about outward appearance.
"There are so many things that cancer survivors deal with, not just image issues," said Hart. "We've all been physically changed, but it's also a lot of emotional issues, financial issues."
And for a group of people that has had so much taken away, Big C New Me is there to give back.
"You're not a whole self anymore, and you've just got to accept the fact that you are who you are and nothing has changed," said Pompeo. "Because it's inside -- it's not what's on the outside -- that's beautiful."
Sunday's event was Big C New Me's first official Charlottesville event. Hart says she anticipates expanding the event to accommodate more local survivors once they secure more local volunteers.
The group also has a program dedicated to caregivers called The Edge.
After Sunday's Charlottesville kickoff, the group will take its makeover event to Dallas before heading to Atlanta and Ann Arbor, Michigan.
To learn more about the non-profit or to help the cause, click HERE.