Annie Salgado

Annie Salgado is a bubbly ball of energy. A mother of two teenage girls, she’s usually doing more than two things at once and doing them well. As a survivor of Hodgkin lymphoma, Annie began volunteering with the American Cancer Society by chairing Relay For Life events in her town of Berlin, Connecticut. But when a family member saw something in the newspaper for the Look Good Feel Better program, she knew she needed to check it out. “Having had cancer and being a licensed cosmetologist, it was the perfect fit for me.”

Look Good Feel Better is offered through a national collaboration of the Look Good Feel Better Foundation, the American Cancer Society, and the Professional Beauty Association and is dedicated to helping women with cancer cope with appearance-related side effects of their treatment. When Annie was sick, she remembers looking in the mirror and thinking she didn’t know the person staring back at her.  “You completely lose your identity when you’re sick like that. You don’t look like yourself,” she says. That’s why twice a week Annie teaches program volunteers how to help patients dealing with changes to their skin, complexion, nails, and temporary hair loss. She also does one-on-one beauty sessions with patients at the hospital or in her own home. Annie figures that if she can put a smile on someone’s face then she’s done her job. She equates it to the popular TV show Say Yes To the Dress. “They get that a-ha moment. They know they look great,” she says.

To have someone walk out with their head high and a smile on their face is a big thing.

Annie Salgado - American Cancer Society Volunteer, Look Good Feel Better® Coordinator

Annie definitely feels a kinship with the people she’s serving. “I always tell my story because I’ve been there. I say I know how you feel. I was 19, bald, and 62 pounds on chemo and radiation. I know what you’re going through.” Annie was also told that due to her illness she would never have children. But she defied the odds and has two daughters aged 18 and 15. “I guess you could call them a miracle,” she says. By telling her own story, Annie gives the women she serves something to look forward to and a little bit of hope. Annie says, “They don’t realize it but it’s what they need most – hope.”         

For Annie the best part of all is the hug she gets at the end of the session. “When I get that hug, I know that I did what I set out to do. That I made them feel just a little bit better. You’re supposed to get seven hugs a day, and I get mine in for sure.

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