Our Wig Service Volunteer, Christine Bilsborough, has been selected as a finalist in Volunteering WA's People's choice ‘Spirit of Volunteering Award' for 2018. Read more about her incredible story below.
Christine Bilsborough has paired her professional experience as a beauty therapist and teacher, together with her passion for supporting cancer patients to regain their confidence and has contributed an incredible 19 years to our Wig Service and an additional 18 years of volunteering to Look Good Feel Better.
Christine's role in the Wig Service at our Milroy Lodge Accommodation for country cancer patients involves meeting with clients (often supported by a family member, friend or carer) and helping them to choose a wig, turban, cap or scarf which can be loaned for free for the duration of their treatment - and demonstrating how they can be worn and cared for.
For many clients, their first appointment at the Wig Service is also their first encounter with our support services. Christine's nearly two-decade-long commitment has been invaluable for patients who are keen to know how else we might be able to support them or their loved ones, for example; through financial or practical support, legal advice, counselling.
Recently, Christine recounted a situation where a country client staying Milroy Lodge was so pleased with her new look that she walked laps of the Lodge showing off her turban. The client visited Christine another couple of times on the same afternoon - joyfully exclaiming "how fantastic do I look!?"
Christine's role with Look Good Feel Better is Workshop Facilitator and this sees her supporting groups of either women, men or young people to develop the skills and confidence to apply makeup (for example where eyebrows once grew) and to fit products such as wigs and other headwear. Christine often recalls workshops where participants say things like "I was nervous to come but have enjoyed today" or "I was made to feel welcome and at ease".
Christine said participants can find comfort in knowing that they are not alone. It's also an opportunity for them to exchange phone numbers and connect with someone at the same treatment centre to share tips on their new-found hobby of applying makeup or styling their wig.
Christine is a thyroid cancer survivor, having had 2 operations in just eight days before getting the all-clear in 2016.
It's because of her own cancer journey that Christine believes giving back to others is so important. Volunteering to support clients during what is often a difficult time in their life is part of who she is.
Christine's passion for and commitment to volunteering makes her a worthy recipient of the 2018 Spirit of Volunteering award.