The last conversation Jules Osmany had with her Mum was in 2013. ‘I asked her if she would like any shopping, and she replied; ‘Yes can you buy a red lipstick?’’ Jules recalls.
Born in the 1930s, Gloria had always taken great pride in her appearance. Inspired by film stars of the day such as Ava Gardener and Elizabeth Taylor, Gloria wouldn’t dream of leaving home without putting on a full face of makeup, particularly her red lipstick which had been her signature accessory since she was a teenager.
So when, after much ill-health, she asked her daughter to buy her a lipstick, it gave Jules hope that her Mum might be getting better. Sadly, she wasn’t. The following day, Gloria suffered a mini stroke. After a series of further mini strokes her health deteriorated, and her dementia worsened.
Jules watched helplessly, wanting to ‘do something’ to help. A make-up artist herself, she came up with the idea of Red Lippy Day. ‘It isn’t the first charitable idea to use makeup to raise money, but red lipstick held such importance for mum throughout her life, as it does for many women, that it felt right somehow.’
The first Red Lippy Day in 2015, launched in conjunction with Dementia UK, raised £13,000 (Jules had hoped it might raise £200). Since then, the event has grown rapidly, and it continues to raise much needed funds for dementia specialist Admiral Nurses.
‘Red Lippy Day is a fun day,’ says Jules. ‘We hope it makes people realise that the wearing of a bright lip colour was indicative of good times, getting ready to go to weekly dances, following film stars of the day, going out with friends, when youth and vitality were at a peak and not the sad circumstances we all see our loved ones in now, usually at the end of their lives.’
Gloria is now very frail, living in a care home. ‘She is bed bound, blind, and desperately thin. Mum is unable to communicate, she lies in an unresponsive state, and is only taking a small amount of liquefied food and sips of tea,’ says Jules.
‘Dementia is not just a case of forgetting where you’ve put things, or not recalling names and family members, it’s a devastating condition that many have to endure, and families have to witness. As it’s affecting thousands of families, increasing each year, we need to help by supporting Dementia UK and Admiral Nurses to carry on their invaluable work.’
How to take part in Red Lippy Day on Friday May 4
- Glam up and wear your red lipstick. Most importantly, tell people why you’re wearing it and take a selfie with #redlippyday and post to all social media
- Make a donation by texting RLDD85 (then the amount) to 70070. For example, RLDD85 10 will donate £10.
- Remember the happier times when the person you care about was healthier and had a rich, vibrant life. ‘That’s what we need to celebrate,’ adds Jules.
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