Cancer patients treated to day at salon

September 7, 2009 8:14:42 PM PDT
For patients battling cancer, the mental struggle can be nearly as wearing as the physical battle.

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Now, one of the Bay Area's premier pediatric hospitals is helping young cancer patients boost their spirits, while they are in treatment. For some it has meant both a new look and a new outlook.

From the sidewalk, the event looks like the kind of entrance rock stars make and for the next few hours, that might be what Daisy Sandoval and a dozen other young cancer patients feel like.

Before arriving at the San Francisco Institute of Cosmetology, some of the young women spent literally months in the hospital. Daisy survived lymphoma.

"I got out of the hospital in July," Daisy said.

Professional makeup artist Sandy Phan will help divert Daisy's attention from the struggle inside her body to the beauty on the outside.

"It's fun to just, because you get to see what fits your face color, you can play around with it," Daisy said.

While Phan builds Daisy's new look, other young women get everything from new hairstyles, to facials.

Coordinator Michelle Ball with Lucile Packard Children's Hospital says the makeover trip is a first. It is all part of the hospital's ongoing program called Cheers, designed to help young oncology patients psychologically by staging events that take them away from the hospital.

"I think they get a really chance to bond with one another, just do something that regular girls do, a chance to share stories and experiences," Ball said.

Stylists and makeup artists at the institute donate their time.

"When we saw them roll up in the limo we were getting all teary eyed because it's a treat for us too," Phan said.

After about an hour of brushing blending and highlighting, Daisy has new makeup and a fresh outlook.

After a quick photo, it is back into the limo that will take them home, or in some cases back to the hospital, to continue their fight to win back their health.

The cosmetology institute donated the stylists' time. Organizers hope to make the San Francisco trip a regular event.

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