Belfast Telegraph

Belfast woman in remission from cancer inspired to help charity's nail bars

Lisa Acton and her mum June Silcock
Lisa Acton and her mum June Silcock

By John Breslin

A businesswoman with a salon in east Belfast is providing nail products to Cancer Focus NI after witnessing one of the charity's volunteers offer manicures to cancer patients.

Lisa Acton was receiving treatment for cervical and pelvic cancer at Belfast City Hospital, when she left intrigued by a woman working away in a corner doing nails.

Lisa, who is now in remission from cancer, was naturally curious as she runs her own nail salon, Gelish on the Castlereagh Road, so the mother-of-three asked what was going on.

"She told me she was a volunteer with Cancer Focus NI and was doing manicures, hand massages for patients and giving advice about their nails as they waited for their treatment and appointments to see doctors," said Lisa. "I thought this was a brilliant idea."

The meeting, at the hospital's Bridgewater Suite, spurred Lisa into action.

She has since donated stacks of products to Cancer Focus NI for its nail bars in Craigavon and Belfast City Hospital, which have been operating for seven years.

"Cancer Focus NI is a cause close to my heart, both because of my own and my late mum's experience of cancer," said Lisa, who still attends three monthly medical checks and suffers some side-effects from radiation treatment.

"I know at first-hand that waiting for treatment in cancer clinics can be very stressful and time consuming," added Lisa.

"You can be getting your bloods done at eight in the morning but you're not in the treatment suite until two or three. The Cancer Focus NI nail bars offer some much needed relaxation and pampering."

The team of volunteer beauty therapists provide a little respite from the anxiety of waiting for treatment and help when nails and skin are adversely affected by chemotherapy, Cancer Focus NI said, adding that the service is entirely operated by volunteers. The charity is on the lookout for others to help.

Lisa's mum June Silcock, who passed away last January, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer around the same time as her daughter. She loved getting her nails done when she was waiting for her cancer treatment, her daughter said.

Her mother was also an enthusiastic member of the Cancer Focus NI Sing for Life choir.

"She got a lot of pleasure from the choir and did as much as she could to support it," explained Lisa. "I'm delighted to be able to give something back to Cancer Focus NI on behalf of both my mum and myself."

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