Newtownabbey beauty therapist and mum of three, Cathy Taggart, is urging other beauty therapists to help cancer patients.
Cathy, who has three sons and is expecting her fourth child, clears her schedule on one morning each month to give manicures and hand massages to patients at Belfast City Hospital as a volunteer with Cancer Focus Northern Ireland.
Because the service is so popular, Cancer Focus NI is now urgently on the look-out for more helping hand volunteers who have at least an NVQ level 2 qualification.
Cathy, who runs her own beauty clinic, Amour, in Newtownabbey, said: “I have a very hectic life between looking after the boys and running my own business but I like to set aside a few hours once a month on my day off for Cancer Focus NI.
“Volunteering for a nail bar is something I’d thought about doing over the years and when I saw this Cancer Focus NI service pop up on Facebook, I contacted the charity.
“I was particularly interested in this charity because I lost my granny to cancer, and my husband’s father too. Every family has been affected by it.”
She added: “Cancer is an awful illness. Patients can hang around all day waiting for blood tests, treatments and to see doctors. Some have travelled hours from home early in the morning and don’t get away to last thing in the afternoon, and may have to come back the next day too. It’s exhausting for them.
“I find it really rewarding to be able to take people’s minds off what they are going through and I love putting a smile on their faces, even for a short time. You even get to see some of the same faces month after month and build up a rapport with them.
“They totally love getting a manicure, picking their nail polish colours and getting a relaxing hand massage. I think this is a fantastic Cancer Focus NI service and I just wish I had more time to give.”
Wendy Brown, Assistant Volunteer Co-ordinator, Cancer Focus NI, explained: “Volunteers provide much needed relaxation and pampering for people at a very stressful time, as well as giving advice on caring for their nails and skin which can be adversely affected by chemotherapy.
“Volunteering also gives newly qualified therapists a chance to develop skills and build up experience which will be useful when they apply for jobs in the future.
“Volunteers take away a huge amount of personal satisfaction when they see what a difference they make to cancer patients.”
She added: “We could not do our valuable work without the help of volunteers so please do come and join in. We really need you.”
Full training and support is provided by Cancer Focus NI and volunteers are generally asked to give a few hours of their time one or two weekdays a month, with flexible hours.
If you have a few hours to spare and would like to help, email email@example.com or call 028 9066 3281 and speak to Wendy.