Meet Jeanna Doyle, founder of Suite HOPE, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide women with education and support to address the often dramatic changes in appearance that happen during cancer treatment. Doyle, who is a Licensed Cosmetologist Medical Aesthetic Provider Oncology Esthetician and Corrective Makeup specialist has a dual career in medicine and fashion. Her passion to help others find their beauty during a medical crisis was a natural fit.
Doyle believes that with the help of Suite HOPE women will find the strength to maintain a positive attitude through their cancer diagnosis, recovery and beyond. Doyle was inspired to begin the nonprofit after seeing a close friend struggle with the aesthetic difficulties of coping with cancer. She decided then she could make a difference. Since then, Suite HOPE's website has received national attention. Leading beauty experts and medical authorities contribute to the website, which also features survivor portraits and inspirational stories. Suite HOPE also participates in educational seminars and live demonstrations across the county. We wanted to know more about Doyle and her mission to spread confidence to cancer survivors and she was kind enough to answer a few questions:
Dawn Tongish: Please begin by telling us about Suite HOPE.
Jeanna Doyle: HOPE is an acronym that stands for Helping Oncology Patients Esthetically. We are a newly approved 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose mission is to assist cancer patients with the appearance related concerns they have as a result of treatment. Suite HOPE assists patients with things like wig selection and recreating the appearance of a natural looking eyebrow and lash line, as well as consulting them about skin and nail changes. We do this with the use of certified oncology estheticians trained in the special needs of persons with cancer. We provide these services for ANY one with ANY type of cancer, from the newly diagnosed to the long-term survivor. Currently we serve the women of the Dallas-Fort Worth. We offer lectures and day workshops throughout the United States. Our website, www.suitehope.org, is a resource that has been viewed in 24 countries.
DT: What are your duties at Suite HOPE?
JD: My primary focus is in the development and delivery of programs and services. However, we are a new organization - so I get to wear a lot of hats.
DT: How did you become involved with Suite HOPE, and why are you so passionate about the work being done at the organization?
JD: I founded Suite HOPE as a way to support women. My background is in both corrective makeup and in makeup for advertising and fashion. I have a girlfriend, Ruth, (Story on the site at http://www.suitehope.org/cover-story/ruth) who I help with her cancer journey. Through that experience it was clear there was a need for this type of support for other women. With a cancer diagnosis there can be sudden and dramatic changes in appearance. We are an organization that starts care from the moment one is diagnosed, and continues the education and support throughout their journey and into survivorship. Just as a cancer patient’s needs change with different stages of treatment and recovery, so do our programs and services. We offer women the tools they need so they can take control of appearance and resume daily activities with confidence. What Suite HOPE is doing is also groundbreaking. Suite HOPE has a pilot program at an NCI ranked cancer hospital, and will be presented as a “best new practice” at a national and international meeting next year to oncology social and psychosocial workers.
DT: Why do you work in the nonprofit sector?
JD: I started the Suite HOPE concept as a free support group. Through feedback about the need for this type of programming, I decided to turn the concept non-profit so that it can be studied and duplicated. Currently we have two NCI ranked cancer hospitals interested in doing evidence based research studies on this program, which will help us to duplicate this program in other locations. The Dallas philanthropic community is outstanding. Since starting on this path I have met some of the most amazing people who truly want to make this world a better place. There is no end to the things you can accomplish in a community like ours that cares about and champions great causes.
DT: How can the people of DFW and beyond help meet your needs for 2014? What are your biggest needs?
JD: Funding and awareness. As a new organization we have made major strides gaining the attentions of some of the largest cancer hospitals and research centers in the US. What we need most is funding and the public awareness about who we are and what we do. Suite HOPE is positioned to bring this platform to a national audience, where we can continue helping to meet the needs of these opportunities and expand our services to the women of the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Looking ahead, we are excited to be in talks here in Dallas to expand our services to the teen and young adult community: a population that is especially vulnerable to the sudden changes to appearances.
DT: What is the most memorable moment in your experiences at Suite HOPE?
JD: It is hard to explain the daily rewards of working with these women. I recently shopped for a wig with a woman who had a young child who knew she was looking for a wig but did not realize it was because she had cancer. Imagine shopping while, with childhood excitement, suggestions for outrageous wigs came at us fast and furious; each one crazier than the next! I tried to stay focused on a believable and practical solution. After a few different tries we had what we thought was a really good option. Suddenly this beautiful, innocent human being looked up and said sadly, “But that looks the same as your REAL hair!” In that moment we knew we had the best option.
If you'd like to nominate a local resident for a BubbleLife community profile, contact Dawn Tongish at email@example.com or find her on Twitter at @DawnTongish.