In celebration of Look Good Feel Better’s 25th year in Canada, we’ve named 25 Heritage Heroes who have helped the charity make it to 25 inspiring years of helping women and teens with cancer feel like themselves again, or currently play an important role and provide a powerful voice to keep the program alive for years to come.
Each of our 25 Heritage Heroes – one for each year of our program – exemplifies the very essence of Look Good Feel Better’s mission to empower and support women with cancer.
Dr. Alexandra Ginty had to push outside of her comfort zone to attend Look Good Feel Better at Credit Valley Hospital in June 2010.
The family physician was diagnosed with bilateral breast cancer in April 2010 and felt uneasy about being “mixed in with patients” to access support resources.
After some coaxing from her sister-in-law, she signed up for the Mississauga workshop and took a friend with her.
“It was the very first thing I did outside of my comfort zone,” Ginty said. “I thought the worst that can happen is I come away with a really nice box of makeup.”
But, of course, she came away with so much more.
“I looked good and I felt better,” she said. “It encouraged me to take the time to put on some lipstick and dress in nice clothes, which makes you feel confident. There’s so much insecurity going back to work – it’s so much easier not to do these things, it’s so much easier to find an excuse, but you need that little extra bit to help you face adversity.”
“For me, that confidence comes with walking into a room, knowing that despite all I’ve been through, I look good.”
Since that workshop, Ginty has been in promotional videos for the charity, fearlessly shared her story in her blog Dr. Both Sides and continues to recommend the program to patients seven years later.
With 60 per cent of Look Good Feel Better participants referred by their oncology team, Ginty’s powerful voice plays an important role in the future of the charity, which is why she’s been named a Heritage Hero.
A champion for psychosocial oncology, Ginty sees Look Good Feel Better as part of that supportive framework.
“Perhaps it reaches people who wouldn’t sign up for psychosocial support, because we’re using skin care and focusing on how to make ourselves look good,” she said. “But really, inside, we’re actually feeling better by interactions, turning up, going past comfort zones – these are all learning experiences you don’t realize you’re doing when you go to a workshop.”
“It’s not just about putting on some makeup – it’s so much more than that. It took a lot for those people to get there.”
While Ginty is still working as a family physician at Dorval Medical Family Health Team in Oakville, she’s also taken on lead roles in cancer care, including Primary Care Lead for the Mississauga-Halton region with Cancer Care Ontario.