National program helps women with cancer 'look good and feel better' recognizes KGH CEO as founding member

News / General
By Matthew Manor

Kingston General Hospital (KGH) President and CEO Leslee Thompson was one of 20 women honoured with the Facing Cancer Together Award of Honour for her commitment to empowering women with cancer by helping to pioneer the Look Good Feel Better (LGFB) program in Canada.

The LGFB program teaches women across the country simple cosmetic techniques and hair alternatives to deal with the appearance-related effects of cancer and its treatment. It is available at 118 Canadian hospitals. “This award means a great deal on both a personal and professional level,” says Thompson. “The idea for the program was sparked by an interaction with a patient while I was working as an oncology nurse. She taught me about the importance of self-image in helping women face cancer with confidence and hope. That patient was Sherry Abbott who is now executive director of LGFB.” LGFB workshops benefit women across the country, including at KGH. “I hope that by shining a light on this program we can create awareness and help more women in Kingston and Southeastern Ontario,” says Thompson. Kingston resident Connie Johnson recently attended the LGFB workshop at KGH while undergoing treatment for breast cancer. “When I said, ‘I've been diagnosed with cancer', people looked at me differently – like there was no hope. For me, it's important that I portray that I'm going to get through this. Look Good Feel Better gave me the tools to look more like myself. I also enjoyed seeing women smiling, sharing their stories, wishing each other well and feeling good.” Since the first Canadian LGFB workshop was held in September 1992, more than 130,000 women with cancer across Canada have benefitted. Kingston's monthly LGFB workshops have helped nearly 1200 women since 1997.