West Island school offers free facials to women living with cancer

Click to play video: 'West Island beauty school students offer cancer patients a moment of relaxation'
West Island beauty school students offer cancer patients a moment of relaxation
A West Island school treated a handful of women living with cancer to free facials on Monday. The treatments gave the women a chance to relax while offering students and the school an opportunity to raise awareness. Global's Felicia Parrillo reports. – Mar 26, 2024

Louise Langlois Solkin says receiving a facial isn’t something she does often.

In fact, Tuesday was the very first time she’d ever received one.

But she says since being diagnosed with skin cancer two years ago, self-care is more important to her than ever before.

“That’s my first time, but it’s not the last,” Langlois Solkin said. “I love it, I love massages and everything.”

On Tuesday, students from the Gordon Robertson Beauty Academy in Beaconsfield welcomed about 10 women who are living with cancer.

They’re all clients of the West Island Cancer Wellness Centre, whose mission is to support those experiencing cancer.

The collaboration between the charity and the school came about after esthetics teacher Tina Mercuri researched and learned about oncology facials and then shared her knowledge with her students.

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“I teach them how to modify a skin care treatment and that gives us the ability to treat cancer survivors with the effects that they’re having on their skin due to chemo, radiation, surgery, any lymph glands that are removed,” Mercuri said.

Learning about oncology facials and executing them is an enriched part of the students’ program.

The future estheticians say they’re grateful for the opportunity to learn about something so important, and at the same time, to raise awareness about it.

“It’s not a big acknowledgement on the West Island or in the industry, at the moment; in the beauty industry in general it’s not very acknowledged,” student Puneet Bhantal said. “And (these women) are a very important part of our industry.”

The cancer centre says for the school to organize a day specifically catering to these women and their needs, free of charge, means a lot to them.

“The day for them is so incredible that I’ve had participants come to me and say that they’ve loved their day and cried and said they couldn’t believe that was given for them,” said Sandy Fitzpatrick, a participant care co-ordinator at the West Island Cancer Wellness Centre.

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