At the close of every year, Look Good Feel Better (LGFB) has a very hard decision to make in choosing a volunteer who has made an outstanding contribution to the programme. This choice is made from a national team of 2,600 wonderful people who all do amazing work for LGFB. The winner each year is presented with the prestigious Gillian Kirton ‘Volunteer of the Year Award’. In 2018 the award was bestowed on Helen Mulgrew - a lovely lady from Inverness who has gone above and beyond for LGFB since she joined the team in 2006.
During the early years of Helen’s career, she worked in the beauty industry for Estee Lauder and then Lancôme, which was when she first became aware of the LGFB Workshops. Helen and the other ladies in her team were determined to get LGFB sessions set up and running at the Maggie’s Centre, in Inverness.
In 2005 Helen went along to a LGFB training session in readiness to start as a volunteer at future Workshops. In an odd twist of fate, the day before the training Helen was first diagnosed with cancer and then became too unwell to volunteer until 2006.
During her recovery Helen read through the leaflets that she was given at her training and started to put the makeup tips into practice. Having previously been “just a bit of lippy and mascara” kind of woman, she soon came to realise the enormity of the positive effects makeup had on her, lifting her spirits and making her feel like herself again: “I found applying makeup empowering when I was going through treatment.”
In 2008 Helen became Regional Coordinator in Inverness and has since established herself as invaluable volunteer. Lisa Curtis, Director of Programme Services comments: “Helen is a real star player recruiting and organising her own volunteers, taking part in many awareness and fundraising events, not least organising her own highly successful February Fun Time Ball raising a staggering £12,000 which was split equally between LGFB and a local hospice.”
Helen is passionate about volunteering for LGFB and has found that her own experiences with cancer have helped her to help others as she has an understanding of what the workshop attendees are going through: “Ladies need to know that they aren’t alone and by helping them to do things like drawing on eyebrows, we can help them gain strength.”
Over the course of Helen’s 12 years volunteering career for LGFB, she has helped support nearly 1,000 women living with cancer.
In 2013 Helen was given the news that her cancer had returned, but she continued to volunteer at workshops during chemotherapy treatment finding that making others laugh made her feel happier too.
Sadly, Helen’s cancer journey hasn’t ended there, she has been re-diagnosed again and starts radiotherapy imminently. Her strength of character and conviction to help others is inspirational and humbling.
If you are beauty trained, and would like to volunteer for LGFB, please click here to sign up or call 01372 747 500.
You too could make a difference in someone’s life.