by Maria LaPiana
Feb 22, 2013
12:45 PM
Well, Now

Cancer Care: Back to Beauty


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“I really just wanted to make a difference in the lives of women with cancer so they could retain—or regain—their beauty and sense of self-worth,” she says. “I could see how much they needed to be reminded they could be beautiful again.”

Deborah Berry, who learned to embrace the short-and-spiky hairstyle she adopted when she finished chemotherapy, is one of her success stories. An ovarian cancer survivor, Berry admits she was “very bitter and upset” when she was diagnosed. “I ate well, exercised my whole life,” she says. “I was very angry.

“Cancer changes the way people look at you, and the way you look at yourself,” she says. “My hair was down to the middle of my back; it was my crowning glory. It didn’t fall out right away, so I thought I might be one of the lucky ones. But then it came out in clumps and that was the worst.”

Berry, like many of the women in the group, met Ciamei through a massage therapist she’d seen while undergoing treatment. “When I met Jennifer I thought she was wonderful and sincere, and I thought if I could help her, and empower other women, it would be worth it,” she says.

Overall, the results have been very encouraging; all the women report improvements in skin and nails damaged by chemotherapy or radiation, and the regrowth of hair while using Ciamei’s products. Says Berry: “The treatments helped a lot . . . first of all she gives you hope. Jennifer is very knowledgeable, very informative. And thanks to her, my hair grew in fuller and better than prior to chemo.”

Says Ciamei: “These women deserve to feel good when they get up in the morning, to look forward to something that will be better today than it was yesterday. That’s always been my goal.”

Dian Vance is a six-year breast cancer survivor who says she signed on with Ciamei because she’d been “so busy being ‘normal’ that I wasn’t being me. I was just making sure that I showed up for work, life and family.

“When I started working with Jennifer it got to be about me,” she says. “It was a way to have a professional work with me with good products that are safe and healthy. Her facial scrub is really excellent; it encouraged new growth to make my skin look fresh. It was the icing on the cake.”

To a woman, “Project Marcia” volunteers say the benefits go beyond oils and butters, massages and masques. According to Vance, “It’s always good to be among people who have been through what you have; this is what a group like this gives you.”

Ciamei is in the process of marketing her product line, called “Phase 9,” and will make it available through local cancer clinics soon. This spring, she’ll be selecting four or five new volunteers (age 20 to 30) to help younger women cope with cancer.

Ciamei Wellness Center, 115 Technology Drive, Suite B300, Trumbull. To order products or schedule treatments, call 203-459-2441 or visit

Cancer Care: Back to Beauty

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Want to feel good, get better, be your best?  In “Well, Now,” Maria LaPiana reports on the latest in health and wellness—from fitness tips and new findings in medicine to ideas and resources for enhancing mind, body and soul—both here in Connecticut and beyond.

For comments or feedback, email Maria.

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