Wink!

It’s Wink Day again today, a day set aside by the Canadian beauty industry to bring awareness to the appearance-related effects of cancer. For over 20 years, the industry has helped tens of thousands of Canadian women undergoing cancer treatment look and feel like themselves again with programs such as Look Good Feel Better and FacingCancer.ca.

Last year and the year before on Wink Day, women were encouraged to post pictures and videos of themselves wearing blue eyeshadow (with the hashtag #winkday) as a way of raising awareness of the Cancer Blues. The Cancer Blues is a term used to describe the emotional distress caused by cancer and its treatment, an often ignored consequence of the disease that can seriously affect a person’s ability to fight and thrive through the ordeal. On both of those occasions, I happened to be in Calgary visiting my daughter, so we both took part.

This year they’ve dropped the blue eyeshadow and are simply asking women to post pictures of themselves winking and share who it is that they’re winking for. It could be a family member, friend or acquaintance; anyone who is experiencing the effects of cancer treatment. I decided to wink for neuroendocrine tumour (NETS) patients worldwide. Since the zebra is our symbol, here’s my attempt at a zebra wink!

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We’re winking again!

It’s hard to believe that it’s already been a year since my daughter and I put on our blue eyeshadow and participated in Wink Day 2015, but here it is again and as it turns out, I’m at her house again.

What is Wink Day, you ask? It’s a day set aside by the Canadian beauty industry, through it’s charitable foundation, Beauty Gives Back, in support of women going through the social and emotional challenges of the Cancer Blues. Women across Canada are  encouraged to post pictures and videos of themselves wearing blue eyeshadow (with the hashtag #winkday) as a way of raising awareness of the Cancer Blues. The Cancer Blues is a term, coined by Beauty Gives Back, to describe the emotional distress caused by cancer and its treatment, an often ignored consequence of the disease that can seriously affect a person’s ability to fight and thrive through the ordeal.

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My daughter looks great in blue eyeshadow, but me, not so much! “It ages you,” she told me as we applied our make-up and I think she’s right. For Wink Day, however, I’ll put vanity aside.

For over 20 years, Beauty Gives Back has supported tens of thousands of Canadian women through the Cancer Blues with programs such as Look Good Feel Better and FacingCancer.ca. Look Good Feel Better workshops are free of charge to all women with cancer and are designed to help them feel better about themselves and thus face their illness with greater confidence. Over 1800 volunteer cosmetic advisers and hair alternative specialists give generously of their time to bring the two hour seminars to cancer care centres across the country. I was so impressed with my own Look Good Feel Better experience that I’m now a spokesperson for the program helping promote the twice a year fundraising galas put on by Shopper’s Drug Mart, one of the program’s biggest sponsors.

Though I’ve been diagnosed with two completely unrelated cancers over the past three years, one of which is incurable, I must admit that I haven’t experienced the degree of mental distress that many victims of the Cancer Blues do. I attribute this to my faith, my wonderfully supportive family and friends, a great cancer care team and the fact that, so far, my treatment has been successful. My disease is stable and I’m able to live a reasonably normal life. I do, however, love those occasions when I’m someplace where no one knows that I’m the woman with cancer; moments when I can almost forget about it myself.

On days like Wink Day, however, I’m eager to do my part to raise awareness even if it means looking totally silly! It’s not too late to join the fun. Simply post a picture or a video  of yourself wearing blue eyeshadow on social media anytime before the end of June (with the hashtag #winkday) or visit winkday.ca to find out how else you can help.

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It’s Wink Day!

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June 18, 2015 is Wink Day! The Canadian beauty industry, through their charitable foundation, Beauty Gives Back, has been encouraging women to post pictures and videos (with the hashtag #winkday) of themselves wearing blue eyeshadow today in support of women going through the emotional trauma of the Cancer Blues. The Cancer Blues is a term, coined by Beauty Gives Back, for the emotional distress caused by cancer and its treatment and is an often ignored consequence of the disease that can affect a person’s ability to fight and thrive through the ordeal.

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For over 20 years, Beauty Gives Back has supported tens of thousands of Canadian women through the Cancer Blues with programs such as Look Good Feel Better and FacingCancer.ca. “We are a ‘feel good’ industry – colourful, sexy and fun. We use colour to make women look good and feel better every day, so no one knows more about how women feel about themselves than we do,” says the Beauty Gives Back website. “We count over 95% of Canadian women as customers in their lifetime. And we cannot, and will not, abandon those same women when they are fighting for their lives against cancer. Therefore, the mandate of Beauty Gives Back is clear, real and relevant: We dedicate ourselves to treating the emotional fallout from cancer. Using the sum total of our knowledge, experience, expertise and resources, we do what women trust and rely on us to do – to make them feel human again in the face of the ravages of cancer and its treatment. In doing so, we help restore their confidence, and the confidence of those around them, to continue fighting with conviction and living with dignity.”

That’s definitely a cause that I could get behind, especially when all it took was a bit of blue eyeshadow, a camera and social media! Since we’re visiting in Calgary, daughter, Melaina, and granddaughter, Jami-Lee, joined in the fun. Even Jami’s cat, Duncan, with his blue collar, had to get in on the action!

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In spite of dealing with two completely separate cancers over the past two years, one of them incurable, I can honestly say that, though I have, of course, faced some emotional symptoms, I have not really suffered from the Cancer Blues. I can easily understand how it could happen though. I feel blessed to have had the amazing support of family, friends and a fantastic medical team. I have the good fortune of living just two hours away from the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton, Alberta, a world class treatment centre that is truly dedicated to treating the whole person. A Look Good, Feel Better workshop early last year was fun and a very helpful diversion from the more serious sides of dealing with my illness, but above all, I attribute my lack of mental distress to my undying faith in God who assured me the day after I learned that I had cancer, “I’ve got this in my hands. I know what’s going on. I’m going to take care of you!”

It’s not too late to get in on the Wink Day action! Photos and videos can be posted throughout the month of June. Why not wink with us?

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