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Dry July 2020 is proudly supporting :

* Look Good Feel Better - workshops for those with appearance related side-effects of cancer.
* Prostate Cancer Foundation NZ - rollout of Prost-fit program for men affected by prostate cancer.
* Bowel Cancer NZ - telephone support from a specialist bowel cancer nurse.

See below stories of how these organisations will utilise the funds raised to help those affected by cancer.

Latest Updates

Volunteer Conference 2018

Thanks to Dry July Funding, in October LGFBNZ gathered over 35 Volunteer Coordinators and Facilitators from around the Country for a first ever joint conference session. The goal was to continue to develop and grow the classes to meet the demand of increasing diagnosis of cancer throughout New Zealand. New additions to classes were shared over the two days including;

- Breathing techniques - Breathing exercises have been trialled in the Auckland classes with a great response. On the back of this trial, we have trained our facilitators on these techniques, which will be added to future classes. 

- Easy t-shirt head coverings for participants was part of the demonstrations throughout the conference. LGFB aims to provide tangible tips and techniques. So that all participants can take something away that will help them tomorrow. The LGFB Facilitators have now been taught simple scarf tying techniques and tee shirt head wraps to share with their participants.

- Change in the class format – Feedback demonstrates a strong theme of connection between the participants. The time they feel most comfortable to connect is midway through the programme so the sessions have been tailored accordingly.

- The men’s programme was shared with all facilitators, and a programme of training for 30% annual growth in centres throughout New Zealand was introduced.

Additional outcomes from the conference include:

• Development of more Saturday locations for participants in 2019 - Over 97% of past participants indicated that if offered they would have preferred a Saturday class. In line with this in late 2018 and 2019 we set a goal at the conference that every region in New Zealand will offer a Saturday class.

• Development of Pop up centres for more rural regions - 5 pop up areas were identified for trials in 2019.

• Introduction of additional steps within the programme to complement the current signature steps

• Introduction of video content to support the programme

• With the developments and increasing need for volunteers with strong technical knowledge comes the need for formal annual training and support material. A programme of training early in 2019 will be introduced and the plan for development of “Youtube” instructional videos was presented.

• The introduction of participant advocates in the regions to support awareness of the programme through volunteer support

• The introduction of completely centralised participant booking and confirmation service.

• Development of more men’s locations in 2019

• The development of volunteer acquisition for Saturday classes and new centres

• Support for volunteer retention in the 38 current core regions.

A huge thank you to Dry July participants for helping LGFBNZ ensure our programmes are evolving, accessible and best meeting the needs of any person, facing any cancer, at any time.


Look Good Feel Better Men's Programme - Tyrin's story

Tyrin Naidoo knows the importance of looking after yourself, and has always taken pride in his appearance. Until a cancer diagnosis made it all seem a bit frivolous.

Having been a civil engineer overseeing infrastructure projects, starting cancer treatment in May 2017 made him exhausted, in pain, and sometimes depressed.

Attending a Look Good Feel Better men’s class helped give him the boost he needed to face cancer.

“The class reminded me, firstly that I am not alone on this journey, and secondly you have to ensure you look good on the outside, so you feel better on the inside,” he says.

LGFB is using funds raised by Dry July participants in 2018 to boost the men’s programme by 30 per cent. The free classes are for men with any cancer and at any stage, in eight centres around New Zealand.

Tyrin has put his career on hold, wanting to focus on his recuperation and was initially nervous about attending the class that has the motto “Live Stronger, Live Better”. The one-hour session includes how to protect your skin, best shaving practices, masking the side effects of treatment and the importance of regular physical exercise.

Tyrin was recommended the class by Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand and now advocates other cancer patients attend too. Like many undergoing cancer treatment, he has suffered from many side effects from his illness and treatment – and he wanted to live as normally as possible.

“There are a few friends that don’t know about my illness so I don’t talk to them about it and act as normal as can be.”

Tyrin admits there have been moments where he has living in denial, but likes to see the positives in what has been an arduous 18 months.

“I have a supportive family, a lovely wife and two boys – one and two. If I hadn’t got sick I would have been working long hours and would have missed out on time with my boys while they are little. Now I am at home with them more. I have learnt to live with less – and get joy from my family.

“The class wasn’t anything like I expected it to be, it was very educational, and it is really good to remind yourself of all the things you used to do and how it makes you feel when you look good – you actually do feel better.”


Elaine - How eyebrows help me face my cancer journey

Mum-of-two Elaine Kuri’s world changed in a day when a check up for a sore muscle was diagnosed as stage 3 breast cancer, and further tests revealed stage 3 lymph node cancer too.

Quickly this successful businesswoman’s life went from senior exec meetings to hospital appointments, and the once vibrant manager became a cancer patient who was merely existing.

“I had to shave off my long hair, so I didn’t even look like me anymore. The Look Good Feel Better workshop gave me my confidence and independence back,” the 44 year old says. 

“Being able to now draw my eyebrows and feel confident and have a smile on my face again – even though I was going through crap - made such a big difference. 

“I might be feeling really horrible inside and I have got another chemo session and I visualise all of the side effects I am going to go through for the next few days, and the thought that I might be in hospital again.  

“But just putting on that make up – I can smile again and look at myself in the mirror and say ‘you know, it’s ok, I can get through this’. I have some control back, I have a choice.” 

The class was an appointment she looked forward to, one that wasn’t yet another medical treatment or check up. And, very soon into the class, Elaine says, there was a palpable shift with the women initially sharing details of their cancer, and treatment. Then as they had their make up applied the conversation turned to how nice they looked, and admiring the colours in the make up. 

“Suddenly the conversation was normal conversation, we were normal women even though we had the bond of cancer.  

“Thank you Look Good Feel Better, you helped me find me again.” 


Waiora - Facing the future with confidence

Waiora has had surgery to remove basal cell carcinoma, skin cancer, from her face three times - and she lives with the worry that the operations may not be her last.

Grandmother to three girls, Waiora resides in an eco village in Ranui, and attended a West Auckland Look Good Feel Better class. She wanted to learn how to disguise her misshapen lip, the legacy of having had three cancerous lumps removed in eight years.

“To others it wasn’t discernible, but it was to me. And the class was so humbling. I went back to work and I said “I feel like such a fraud. I have only had this”.  

“I was in a class where women didn’t have their hair, they didn’t have a breast, they were going through chemotherapy or radiotherapy.  

“I learnt how to subtly apply products and then when I looked in the mirror I just thought ‘wow’. I thought I looked really great.  

“At nearly age 60 it has made such a huge difference in my life. As someone who has had cancer, who thinks that cancer may return again, just looking and feeling the best that I can makes such a huge difference. 

“When you feel better, it just radiates from your face and you have a tingle in your toes.” 

Waiora, who spent most of her life in Whangarei and Hokianga, had wanted a tu moko on her mouth and chin, to acknowledge her heritage, but she now wants to leave her face clear so she can watch for any changes. 

“I don’t think I will do that any more”, let’s leave things as they are.” 


Emotional healing - 'feeling better' is as important as cancer treatments

Shona wasn’t sure she should attend a Look Good Feel Better class. She had undergone gruelling cancer treatment but to the outside world looked well. So it was with trepidation that she went.

“Physically I was starting to feel a lot better but emotionally I would say that I was at my lowest point. So the class for me was not necessarily to make me look better. For me it was more about feeling better,” the 36 year old says.

It will be two years ago in July that Shona was diagnosed with stage 2b cervical cancer. She endured five rounds of chemotherapy, 25 fractions of external radiation and then internal radiation.  

“I was lucky enough to not lose my hair or my eyebrows and, so in some ways I wondered if I should actually go to the class. It wasn’t until I turned up and I met all the other cancer patients that I felt like I was actually entitled to be there. I felt I was with like-minded people. It was a really nice, kind, caring, comfortable environment. It was just time out that you don’t always give yourself. 

“it was a couple of hours where it was all about me and someone was pampering me and it was a really beautiful lovely kind of feeling. it wasn’t the only thing that helped me to feel better but I think it was a step in the process for me.  

“A lot of my disease felt really invisible. It’s all inside, you can’t see any of that. The majority of what you go through is hospital based. You, at times, can feel like a bit of a number, not a person. Going to that class made me feel less invisible. And that was a huge thing for me because you become more real again and you feel really cared for.  

“It was a real positive day – you’re surrounded by so much love and care and support. I am very glad I did it. It helped the emotional healing.” 

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