A young Armagh woman is offering free makeovers to all NHS staff to give back to those who have cared for her during her many stays in hospital.
We have all heard of the struggles of the health service, with staff shortages forcing many nurses, doctors and paramedics to regularly put in 12 hour or more working days.
One Armagh woman, who has witnessed the work carried out by these wonderful staff on a day-to-day basis, feels they need a treat.
And, to that end, she is offering free makeup applications once a month for these hardworking souls.
Leigha Coade was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis from birth and regularly has to attend hospital.
Speaking to Armagh I from hospital, she said: “I’ve always had CS. It is a progressive condition so as I’ve got older it’s got worse.
“But I have always just been able to cope with it.”
Leigha had gone to university in Liverpool to study Media and Marketing, but unfortunately in her final few months had to leave due to ill health.
“I was in March of final year when I left because of illness. At the time, being away from home three years into uni, and I just couped.
“I couldn’t do it anymore. I had no option but to come home.”
Leigha is due to go back to Liverpool to finish her final year but is undecided as to whether it will be this year.
“I keep putting it off but I cant go back and have the same thing happen again,” she said.
“I basically have my full degree because I did the three years. I just don’t have anything to show for it.”
Opening up on her struggles, Leigha confided it was hard watching all of her friends graduating, just two months after her health forced her home.
However, the enthusiastic Armagh woman quickly picked herself up and dusted herself off.
“By the time I came around, I thought there is no point in me just sitting about doing nothing,” she added.
Leigha decided to go out and study something she had a passion for …. makeup.
“I went to Paddy McGurgan’s in Newry for my training; then began doing it on the side just as a wee hobby for family and friends,” she explained.
Leigha then began working in Glo in Armagh and set up a Facebook page to arrange appointments.
“I’ve a wee room down the back in there which is handy, it really has taken off in the last couple of months and I really enjoy it,” she continued.
“People always tell me ‘if you work at something you like you will never work a day in your life’, I have found that to be true.”
Leigha explained the reasons behind her offering free make up applications to NHS staff: “This is my third visit in three months, whenever I get worse I have no option but to come in and get IV antibiotics to treat it.”
Leigha’s stays can be anything from 10 days to two weeks.
“I have seen more of hospitals first hand than most people my age,” she admitted.
It is this experience which has shown Leigha the hard work that staff of the NHS do every single day.
“My best friend is a nurse and I know what she goes through, she tells me every evening how hard her day was.
“I see their struggle, they are rushed off their feet and they apologise for not coming to you quickly enough.
“This has really opened my eyes to how under-staffed the NHS is and the hours that nurses put in.
“You can just see it in their faces that they are so tired and they have no option but to keep going.”
So as a thank you Leigha decided to run an offer of free makeup application for any NHS staff on every last Saturday of the month.
All you have to do is show your identification and you will be ready to hit the town!
Check out Leigha’s Facebook page for further details.