This Cancer Survivor Now Creates Lashes For Chemo Patients
Codilia Gapare had prepared herself for losing her hair during cancer treatment. The thought of wearing a wig or drawing on her eyebrows didn't really bother her. But when she lost her eyelashes she realised traditional falsies didn't work without hairs to attach them to. So she decided to use her journey to improve the lives of other people living with cancer by inventing C-Lashes and partnering with lash giant Eylure to bring her product to Boots this March.
"I'm a strong, positive person so when I was diagnosed with breast cancer on the same day as an interview for my dream university place to become a law student - I refused to cry or hold the nurses hand," entrepreneur and founder of C-Lashes told Pretty52 exclusively. "I held my head up, drove to my interview and I nailed it."
"But when I started my course and tried to balance it with a job and being a mum to my two boys - reality hit. It was a devastating decision but I mentally couldn't cope with all of that and driving myself to chemo and hospital appointments. Something had to give - and that was my studies."
While recovering from chemo, Codilia was working as a data analyst but didn't want her illness to be the main topic of conversation in the office over professional matters. She tried to use false eyelashes to make herself look and feel more like the businesswoman she is, but quickly came to the realisation that, without, natural lashes, they wouldn't work.
"They drooped without lashes underneath them to hold them up and then, because my few remaining lashes were so fragile from treatment, when I removed them, the glue pulled them out too."
Following a fiddle with some sticky tape and a conversation with a friend who lives with alopecia she realised that the lashes needed a bigger surface area to stick them to the lid - and the idea for C-Lashes was born.
She spent two hours a day calling stores, brands and businesses to seek support to launch her product because she'd never invented anything before. But it was when a Macmillan nurse put her in touch with a friend at Boots that things started to go in the right direction.
"My pitch was terrible because it was the first I'd ever done," she explained. "But it was when I spoke to the buyers afterwards and said: 'I'm wearing the lashes now,' that the deal was made. They didn't realise I didn't have lashes and was wearing false eyelashes. They were sold."
C-Lashes are strip lashes with an invisible, self-adhesive band attached to it to increases their stability and avoid drooping. The band provides a bigger, more solid foundation for the lashes to stick to the eyelid and remain in place all day. And a longer peel-off strip makes it easier for chemo patients to hold because treatment can cause numbness in fingertips.
"This is just the first step of my business venture to help people living with cancer to feel more like themselves through beauty," she explained. "Survival rates are up but it really helped my mental health and recovery to still be able to get out there looking and feeling like myself instead of shutting myself away and feeling scared on my own."
The lashes available in Naturals, Lengthening and Volume for £5.25, will be available online from Saturday, 26th February and in Boots stores from early March.
Featured Image Credit: Credit: Facebook/Codilia Gapare, Eylure