Provider Spotlight: Geralyn O’Brien, Licensed and Oncology-Focused Esthetician
When Geralyn O’Brien was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997, she promised herself that, if she survived, she would find ways to give back to those facing the challenges of a cancer diagnosis. Since then, she has spent many years supporting cancer patients and raising funds for cancer organizations – and even began a new career at the age of 54 as an esthetician for the cancer community.
Now a licensed, oncology-focused esthetician, Geralyn has worked at Waterford Place since 2016 providing one-on-one skin care consultations and oncology-focused facials. She also leads a monthly “Simply Beautiful” class, a fun, interactive class that educates and demonstrates how to implement a healthy skin care and makeup regimen during cancer treatment and beyond. Despite the pandemic and the temporary closure of the Waterford building, she is holding consultations and skin care classes virtually via the Webex platform.
Because many cancer patients experience skin reactions from chemotherapy and the medications associated with cancer treatments, Geralyn’s goal is to help minimize and prevent skin reactions by promoting a healthy skin care plan free of products that contain harsh chemicals. She says consistency is key and stresses the importance of following simple, preventive measures each day with nourishing, hydrating products.
She loves the positive responses she gets from clients who say their skin has never been better. Many never realized the benefits facials provide during cancer treatment, both to their skin and as a means of relaxation. Her male clients comment they would never have considered having a facial but it has become one of their favorite services.
Since becoming an esthetician, Geralyn has survived two more bouts of cancer. “We are so lucky to have a center like Waterford Place,” she says, “where cancer patients can experience services and programs that provide positive benefits and improvement in their quality of life during such a difficult time.” She says it is inspiring to see how far skin care programs for cancer patients have come in the last 10 years. Many oncology-trained estheticians now provide skin care services in cancer centers, hospitals or in their own salons.
When not working, Geralyn loves spending time with family and friends – and she has many! Between Geralyn and her eight siblings, they have 29 children and 47 great nieces and nephews. She also still maintains friendships with friends she has had since first grade. She is currently competing in the Skin Games, an international competition for estheticians, for the chance to win up to $20,000 for Waterford Place.
Geralyn encourages others facing challenges or struggles to reach out for help. She says, “We all have the power to support each other and make a difference in someone’s life with a kind word, gentle touch or listening ear.”