A Lower Mainland charity is looking for volunteers to help put smiles on the faces of Delta stroke survivors.
The Lipstick Project is a non-profit that provides free professional hair, massage and nail services to men, women and children facing significant health challenges, as well as their primary caregivers.
Leigh Schumann, who serves as the organization’s executive director, founded The Lipstick Project in 2013, in memory of a friend’s mother-in-law who passed away at North Shore Hospice.
“She wasn’t the kind of woman who really put a lot of attention towards her nails or her hair or anything like that, and in the last couple of days of her life she requested to get her hair and her nails done professionally,” Schumman said. “And unfortunately, the request couldn’t get fulfilled on such a short time frame, particularly because it was challenging to find somebody who was comfortable in that environment who could come on such short notice.”
In response, she founded The Lipstick Project to fill that gap.
“It just sort of struck me that our group of friends could probably help fill that gap and then it just mushroomed into this much bigger thing than we were expecting, and so we’ve been on this journey for the past five years of just slowly growing this organization to help meet this very very specific need that exists in that community,” she said.
Today, The Lipstick Project has 66 volunteer hairstylists, massage therapists and estheticians and works with 11 partner organizations to provide quality-of-life services to people facing serious health issues and their primary caregivers. Last year, Lipstick Project volunteers delivered over 650 professional-grade services to people in communities across the region.
“The whole point of it is really to provide people with dignity and respite and just a different kind of connection while they’re facing some of the most significant challenges of their lives,” Schumman said.
“So whether they’re in hospice care or they’re a family who’s staying at Ronald McDonald House or if they’re a young stroke survivor, we work with people who are facing significant health challenges just to provide them with that respite and compassionate care.”
Last year, The Lipstick Project started working with the North Shore Recovery Centre, and through that connection has partnered with the Delta Stroke Recovery Society to provide nail care and hand and arm massage services for its 50 or so members.
“We’re looking for professional nail technicians and massage therapists, so that can be RMTs, reiki practitioners, healing touch practitioners or reflexology practitioners, who are interested in volunteering their time every two weeks for about two hours,” Schumman said.
“We’re hoping to get really good people from the Delta community on board to serve this really unique group of people that live in their neighbourhood.”
The program will run bi-weekly on Tuesdays from 11:45 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. at Tsawwassen United Church (693 53rd St.), starting in mid-January 2019.
Anyone interested in volunteering or looking for more information is encouraged to contact the Lipstick Project via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“If anyone’s interested but they have questions, we’re super open to having those conversations with people, because I think some people don’t necessarily know what it would look like to work with a stroke survivor,” Schumman said.
“We often just encourage people, if you’re curious at all, you should reach out to us and we’d love to talk to people and sort of share a little more with them.”