Codilia Gapare, a breast cancer survivor, has revolutionised the beauty industry by creating the first ever false lashes range for chemotherapy patients.
The mother-of-two was diagnosed with cancer in the UK in 2014 on the same day that she underwent an interview with the Manchester Metropolitan University.
While she was offered her dream place, she eventually had to drop out to focus on her chemotherapy treatment after struggling to balance her studies. She chose to use her spare time to create something truly special.
She initially had tried to ignore the diagnosis, but later had to face the illness head on after losing all of her hair.
"The mental battle caused me to become drained. I had two kids, I was a single mum, working two jobs. And that was my reality. I was so upset with myself for being sick. I was supposed to be realising my dream but instead, I felt like a failure," she explained.
Through this intensely difficult time in her life, she realised that there were no fake eyelash options for cancer patients.
She transformed her idea into an actual product, 'C Lashes', and partnered with beauty brand Eylure. The company have since released the range in Boots stores, making the cosmetic industry more accessible for women with cancer.
In an interview with metro.co.uk, she describes how the lashes are designed with a larger, more flexible adhesive band and a bigger surface area to help them stick to the eyelid, and this makes the whole process far easier for women with little-to-no eyelashes.
Colidia wanted to make something that would help cancer patients feel like themselves again, and recalled how hard it was for her to lose her hair;
"Being black, we always play with our hair. Losing my hair was a big deal. No one talks about how much hair you lose though. I lost my eyelashes, eyebrows, pubes, underarm hair."
Colidia came from Zimbabwe to the UK when she was 26-years-old to pursue her ultimate dream of becoming a lawyer, so a full-time business model wasn't exactly planned. Especially after spending years working and studying to apply for university.
The 41-year-old Cheshire resident chose to drive three hours away to her law degree interview after being given her cancer diagnosis, and she nailed it.
She found a lump in her breast in July 2014, and confirmed the illness just a month later. "Mostly, I was in denial," she told Metro.co.uk.
"I really convinced myself I wasn’t ill, I was totally unprepared. I didn’t even tell anyone I was going to my interview but I didn’t even think about cancelling it. For me going ahead with the interview was going ahead with my life."
She continued; "But I wasn’t prepared to lose my lashes."
"When my lashes started to thin out, I bought fake ones, but I struggled because it took off all the remaining hair. I didn’t do it for attention, I just wanted to feel like myself. I just wanted to be me again."
Codilia's life has gone up and up since then; she was offered a scholarship through support network Women in Business to study a masters in Business Admin at the same university.
Having received the all-clear from the disease at her latest check-up, Codilia is now in the final year of her studies in Manchester.
The lashes come in three different styles including 'Naturals', 'Lengthening', and 'Volume', and can be bought on boots.ie for just €7.49 now.
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