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Page last updated at 09:31 GMT, Monday, 12 April 2010 10:31 UK
A new dawn for cancer patients in Doncaster
Aurora relies heavily on fundraising and donations

Receiving the devastating news that you have been diagnosed with cancer is something no one wants to hear. One charity in Doncaster is attempting to make life that little bit better for patients, by offering free treatments to enhance their wellbeing.

Aurora is a charity which funds patients to receive professional beauty treatments from manicures to facials whilst being treated for cancer.

Kath Inman from Harworth in Doncaster was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in November 2008 and received chemotherapy for the disease. During this time she also used the services of Aurora.

"It has really boosted my confidence and made my skin feel a lot better. I've had various treatments, on my hands, feet and face. I feel so much better and the sessions really do give you an opportunity to relax.

Kathryn Inman
Kath Inman had great support from her family during her cancer treatment

"When you're diagnosed with cancer it turns your life upside down. It felt like someone had slapped me across the face. You never think it will happen to you. I've had an amazing family who have got me through it. When I first visited the Aurora centre my daughter dropped me off at the hospital and I visited Head Strong."

Head strong is the name given to a project that the charity runs which shows women on a one-to-one basis how to put on head scarves in various styles, how to wear hair pieces and offering women the chance to try on hats privately. Head Strong is a free service which uses volunteers to advise and importantly offer a friendly face.

"It was great, it made me think great I'm not actually going to look that bad after all, said Kath Inman. "I tried using various wigs but it was a shock when I lost my hair but you just learn to live with it. And with all the support from Aurora and patients, it makes you feel great. It isn't just me who is suffering. We are all going through it together. It does help,"

Aurora funds six beauty therapists to work across their two centres based at the Doncaster Royal Infirmary and Mexborough Montagu Hospital. The two centres offer treatments to both men and women who are being treated for all types of cancer. The charity is also dependant on volunteers to run the Head Strong project and fundraising.

The beauty treatment room at the Doncaster Royal Infirmary
The beauty treatment room at the Doncaster Royal Infirmary

Ali Hanlon is a beauty therapist and works across both of the centres and explains that the job isn't just about a makeover, "We're a good outlet, it's about listening. Anything that is said between myself and a patient is private and confidential. Many people find it hard to talk to their friends and family and often open up in the sessions."

Aurora was initially funded by a grant from a local benefactor, which funded a beautician for five years. Although the beauty treatments and services that Aurora offer are free, they are entirely dependant on donations, meaning fundraising is key to the charity.

Every year Aurora, meaning new dawn organises a fashion show at Doncaster Dome, celebrating proud and emotional cancer survivors. Those who are part of the charity speak so passionately about this two day event, holding great memories for the friends and loved ones that they love and sometimes have lost.

Volunteer Hazel Moore, Fundraiser Barbara Senior and Nancy Lunn
Volunteer Hazel Moore, Fundraiser Barbara Senior and Nancy Lunn

Volunteer Hazel Moore has been part of the charity since it was founded in 2002 and holds dear memories of the shows. "We've lost so many friends. There was a girl called Sharon who took part in the 2009 show. She really struggled to get on the cat walk and was really determined to take part. Soon after the show she passed away. Now we hear music that she modelled to and it takes us back to those happy memories."

You can find out more about Aurora by calling 01302 381302 or by visiting their website.



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