I was so excited to see my friend, Dr. Donald Richey, featured in the news recently. For those of you who don’t know, Dr. Richey is the founder of the “Brighter Days” foundation, and is also on the Cinco Vidas Medical Advisory Panel. He was kind enough to write a foreword to my book, When Cancer Hits, where you can find more information on him and his foundation.
I have personally attended one of Dr. Richey’s much-needed workshops and was blown away by the response from the beautiful patients that needed the information so badly on how to deal with all the side effects on their hair, skin, and nails. I am so proud of Dr. Richey and his mission.
In this recent article, Chico News & Review talked about Dr. Richey’s accomplishments with Brighter Days. If you’re going through cancer treatments and you’d like some help for skin conditions or makeup tricks, check out his website for more information.
Helping People with Side Effects on the Skin
During cancer treatments, oncologists can focus so much on getting rid of the tumor and getting rid of the cancer that they can forget about the other ways that the patient is affected by both the illness and the treatment. Some of the most serious and difficult side effects are those on the hair, skin, and nails.
Dr. Richey started Brighter Days seven years ago, and today the all-volunteer organization supports patients in seven cities and three states. The goal is to bring together a dermatologist and cancer patients for one session each month in these various locations. During the session, the dermatologist shares tips for addressing side effects of cancer treatments, then lets the patients share their frustrations and possible solutions with one another.
“These people are hungry for information,” Dr. Richey says. “When they come in, they’re scared, they’re sad. When they leave, they have a lot of information and they’ve talked to each other, and there’s a real power in that.”
Personal Consultations and Group Therapy
At the first part of the session, the dermatologist conducts a 20- to 30-minute presentation on the effects of cancer treatments and the basic remedies to deal with skin conditions like dryness, open wounds, weeping areas, burns, hyperpigmentation, acne, and others. After the presentation, participants get a one-on-one consultation, where the doctor addresses their particular concerns.
Finally, patients have the chance to talk about their challenges and to tell their stories. “It kind of becomes group therapy,” Dr. Richey says. “They share with each other how they deal with things.
Expanding to Other States
Brighter Days has expanded over the years to now include sessions in Santa Rosa and Newport Beach, California, as well as Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Richey continues to see other dermatologists who are interested in conducting sessions in their area. He says for him, the experience is very rewarding.
“Some people, this really touched their heart, and I’m thrilled to be a part of that.”
If you’re a dermatologist interested in helping cancer patients in your area, please contact Dr. Richey through his website.
Evan Tuchinsky, “Touching lives,” newsreview.com, April 18, 2013, http://www.newsreview.com/chico/touching-lives/content?oid=9618281.