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CHEMOTHERAPY PATIENTS GET DOSE OF MOVIE MAGIC.

Byline: Lee Condon Daily News Staff Writer

Just days before she was slated to undergo chemotherapy for breast cancer, Linda Kay Schleich went looking for a wig because her doctor told her she could expect to lose all of her hair.

``You don't just lose the hair on your head, but your eyebrows and eyelashes. I didn't even know how to put on false eyelashes,'' said Schleich, who went searching for a wig and makeup to help her through her ordeal.

When she tried Cinema Secrets, a makeup store known for working with movie studios, manager Ondine Fink came through, not only finding the right wig, but also teaching Schleich how to put on those false eyelashes and how to apply makeup during the chemotherapy.

Although Fink in the past had helped burn victims, Schleich was the first cancer patient to come to her for help.

Through word of mouth - much of it started by Schleich - several other people have come to Fink for help getting through chemotherapy.

The ability to improve her appearance during chemotherapy was crucial, Schleich said.

``I put my hair on in the morning, and my whole personality changed,'' Schleich said. ``The wig (Fink) found was 100 percent me.''

Since Schleich first walked into Cinema Secrets two years ago, her cancer has gone into remission and her natural hair has grown back.

Last month, Fink and Maurice Stein, owner of Cinema Secrets, opened a new business just east of the main store called the Appearance Renewal Center. Fink said her target clients are burn victims and people like Schleich, who need help getting through chemotherapy.

Fink has a special room set up for appearance renewal.

``We realized there is a great need,'' Fink said. ``My whole goal is to get the clients to look as good as they did before they started undergoing the treatment. Their physical appearance is important to their recovery.''

The clients are not charged for the consultation and advice that Fink gives, but are charged for the actual makeup and wigs that they buy.

Barbara O'Malley, a nurse at Hemotology/Oncology Consultants, said her medical group refers many patients to Fink.

``It's unique. It's kind of a one-stop shopping supply,'' O'Malley said. In the past she has had to refer patients to several locations, but now she just sends them to Fink.

If patients can keep up their appearance, they sometimes have a better chance for survival, O'Malley said.

``It helps them fight,'' she said.

Bebe Tamberg, who works with cancer patients at Holy Cross and Saint Joseph medical centers, has referred several patients to Fink. Tamberg herself is now working at the site, fitting clients with prostheses on a volunteer basis.

Tamberg called it only natural that a Hollywood-related makeup company would lead the way for this type of service.

``We are in the image capital of the world,'' she said.

After years of working with makeup for movies or for Halloween costumes, Fink said it is a major change to work nearly full-time with clients who are seriously ill. She said she feels this is the work she was always meant to do.

``I get as much back from them as they get from me,'' Fink said.

CAPTION(S):

Photo

PHOTO (color) Ondine Fink, left, and Linda Kay Schleich tal k about the importance of keeping up appearances in chemotherapy.

Phil McCarten/Daily News
COPYRIGHT 1996 Daily News
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1996, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jun 3, 1996
Words:564
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