The beauty of caring

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Walking into the Aurora Centre is like walking into any beauty salon.

Relaxing music plays softly in the background and there is the lovely scent of perfumed toiletries.

But this is no ordinary salon.

This is especially for people who are suffering from cancer.

It might seem that the last thing you would offer someone going through chemo or radiotherapy would be a hand massage.

And yet the rewards in terms of boosting self esteem and lifting spirits are huge.

Therapist Ali Hanlon said: “Coming in here and having a beauty treatment gives people a chance to relax and have some me time.”

“It also gives them a boost when they are not feeling well or are feeling low.”

“It can really make a difference to their mood and to help them feel more positive.”

The Aurora Centre, run by the Aurora Wellbeing charity, is a self-contained building in the grounds of Monagu Hospital at Mexborough, near Doncaster.

I went to look round because Aurora will be opening a similar centre in the old library on Memorial Avenue, Worksop, next year.

Fundraising has already begun in earnest. Christmas craft markets will be held on the first Friday of every month for the next three months, starting on 7th October.

Senior project officer Alison Luscombe said the charity was born out of a desire to help the psychological needs of cancer patients.

She said: “Cancer patients were getting excellent clinical care and treatment but we wanted to do something to give them a psychological boost, and being treated to a manicure or facial can do that.”

“It can help people to feel better about themselves, to feel like they are still important and to still feel attractive.”

“Sometimes people spend their first appointment just crying, and that’s fine with us.”

“Often they don’t feel they can let go at home in front of their family and it’s a big relief to be able to let it out.”

Alison said carers could also have treatments, because they appreciated the toll that looking after a cancer suffererer can take on them too.

She said: “Our staff are all part-time which I think is best because it can be upsetting when you get to know people. We are seeing some people who have sometimes been diagnosed for a second or third time.”

Ali, of Bawtry, has worked for Aurora for about six years and is currently providing beauty treatments to patients from this area at Bassetlaw Hospital.

But working in a hospital environment is not ideal.

“It’s better to have a separate building because a lot of people don’t like going back to the same place where they have had their chemotherapy. It can bring back unhappy memories,” she said.

Other fundraising events already planned are a family four-course Sunday lunch on 30th October at The Lion in Worksop, tickets are £15 for adults and £8 for children; and a ladies luncheon at The Bell at Barnby Moor on 24th November, tickets £25 to include a fashion show and entertainment.

For more information and to book tickets call Sally Richardson on 01909 502767.