Think pink in October and help enable a better journey through breast cancer

In October, for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Think Pink Foundation organizes a fundraiser for its Living Center in Docklands.

The fundraising event will feature three fun and hands-on makeup masterclasses led by Living Center volunteer and nutrient expert Lucia Cardamone, and everyone is welcome to attend.

As a free center, The Living Center at Yarra’s Edge exists to help patients, their families and caregivers seek professional and caring holistic support at any stage of their breast cancer journey.

As operating the center has become more difficult due to the pandemic, Think Pink Foundation Director and Patron and Living Center Founder Irene Hendel OAM hopes the fundraiser will help spread their message.

“Let’s hope there will be many women who don’t get breast cancer [at the fundraiser] who will become aware that we exist and that we offer a totally free reception for women, often poor, who come to us,” said Ms. Hendel.

“Women can cope with most things that happen to them, but when they lose their hair and their skin changes from radiation or chemotherapy, they don’t feel like themselves and feel very vulnerable. . The Living Center has always been very attentive to this.

In addition to the makeup classes used to help women through breast cancer, the center also has a hair salon where they have continued to equip women with wigs at no cost.

This has resulted in ‘thousands’ of wigs being installed since the Living Center opened in 2010 on St Kilda Rd, and more recently at the new Docklands site.

While the move to Docklands in February 2020 meant the center closed to the public shortly after the official opening, Ms Hendel said the Living Center team were able to pivot and offer their services online to women at the inside and outside of Victoria.

“Since the start of the pandemic, we have moved all of our programs online and we have been able to expand our geographic reach to include women in rural areas and out of states,” she said.

“Some of our in-house programs, like art therapy, have been difficult to offer online, but our hugely popular exercise, yoga and meditation programs have grown and become invaluable to hundreds of women during the pandemic. It was amazing.

Reaching patients across Australia is something Ms Hendel does not take lightly, as it is her personal experience of being diagnosed with breast cancer twice and seeing other women around her struggling, which led her to consider the center in the first place.

“The first time I sat down with the same group of women [at the hospital] I was amazed at the range of age groups that were there, as there were also some very young people among the group,” she said.

“Two girls in particular had lost their hair during intensive treatment, and when I asked how they were coping I was shocked when they told me they had to sell their car to pay their medical expenses.They were financially destitute.

Ms Hendel described that conversation as “the moment” that led her and husband David Hendel to set up the free facility for Victorian women and men coping with a diagnosis of breast cancer.

With initial support from Kmart and continued long-term support from Mirvac and Victoria Freemasons, The Living Center has become a space where people can receive support and know they are not alone in their journey against breast cancer.

Professional counseling and advice on coping strategies is available for those affected by a diagnosis, and a unique ‘Supporting Blokes’ group is also offered to partners and loved ones of those diagnosed.

To enable The Living Center to continue to make a difference in the lives of those currently battling breast cancer, the Makeup Classes Fundraiser will take place October 8, 23, and 27 between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. for a cost $50. •

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