Rita L. Cassling Image Recovery Center® celebrates first year of helping patients deal with the adverse side effects of cancer treatment.
OMAHA, Neb.—More than 400 cancer patients and survivors have experienced first hand the benefits of the Alegent Health Image Recovery Centers® since first opening at Bergan Mercy Medical Center. On Thurs., Feb. 14, the Rita L. Cassling Image Recovery Center® officially celebrates one year of helping cancer patients and survivors prepare for and understand the physical side effects — hair loss and skin changes — that often result from undergoing treatment.
“The impact the Image Recovery Center® has had on our cancer survivors in the last year has been truly amazing. Anytime someone is diagnosed with cancer it’s an especially challenging time — both emotionally and aesthetically. Combining cosmetology and education along with the clinical effects cancer has on the body, the Image Recovery Center® offers cancer patients a one-stop-shop where they can come to look and feel beautiful again,” said Beki Rainey, clinical cosmetologist at the Image Recovery Center®.
The Rita L. Cassling Image Recovery Center® located at Bergan Mercy Medical Center first opened on Feb. 14, 2007, followed by the opening of the Lyal McCaig Image Recovery Center® in late fall at the Midwest Cancer, located at 172nd and Wright Street. Both centers fuse medical knowledge with cosmetology to help patients deal with the often devastating side effects of cancer treatment including its influence on self-image and appearance.
The Image Recovery Center® is a hospital-based appearance enhancement program designed to address temporary and long-term physical changes cancer patients may experience due to chemotherapy, radiation therapy or surgery. An image consultant, clinically trained in cosmetology, offers patients information on how the hair, skin and nails are affected depending on the type of cancer and therapy associated with it. In addition, certified breast fitters and massage therapists are on hand to help aid in the recovery process.
Each newly diagnosed cancer patient and survivor is offered an initial consultation free of charge to help develop a comprehensive image plan specifically tailored to the individual. Patients have access to skincare analysis and regimentation, therapeutic facials and manicures, cosmetic applications and cover-ups, and hair replacement options including wigs and headwear. The center offers extensive breast care support including a variety of post-mastectomy, lumpectomy and reconstruction garments including bras, prostheses, swimwear and intimate apparel. Post-treatment clothing recommendations and educational support resources are also be available.
The Image Recovery Center® at Bergan Mercy Medical Center exists due to a generous gift by the Cassling family in memory of the late Rita L. Cassling, who died from cancer more than seven years ago. An endowment fund by John and Ivel Reed has also been established to ensure that all cancer survivors — regardless of their ability to pay — will be able to benefit from the services.
Likewise, family and friends of the late Lyal McCaig raised money to name the center located at the Midwest Cancer Center in his honor. Lyal died from lung cancer in 2007 and had an extensive career in the cosmetology industry as a great stylist, teacher and the co-owner of the Capitol School of Hair Styling and Esthetics in Omaha. His family felt that contributing to a worthwhile cause such as the Image Recovery Center® would be a fitting way to honor his life and character.