Nicola Connolly – Cancer Focus NI
Dunmurry beauty therapist Nicola Connolly, who has survived two diagnoses of cancer, helps patients by volunteering for Cancer Focus Northern Ireland’s nail bar service.
Nicola donates a few hours of her time most months to give manicures and hand massages to patients at Belfast City Hospital.
Nicola, who’s a qualified beauty and holistic therapist, says: “I set aside a few hours once a month for Cancer Focus NI at the Bridgewater Suite at the City. It’s something I love doing.
“I was once a patient at Bridgewater myself. I’ve had cancer twice, malignant melanoma and then cancer of the lymph nodes, which were removed. I was given the all-clear last March.
“A few months after that I saw the Cancer Focus NI appeal for more volunteers on Facebook. I thought I would love to get involved, having been on the other side of cancer myself. Now, I volunteer for four or five hours once a month or so, depending on how busy I am at work and the charity is very flexible,” Nicola said.
“It is such a long day for the patients at hospital. They are often there from early morning to late afternoon, sometimes travelling for hours from home. They can be scared and worried, tired or bored. I know what that’s like, so I wanted to help other people in that situation.
“The nail bar is the perfect way I can help and it’s a fabulous little treat and a bit of craic for the patients. Sometimes after treatment you are too tired or unwell to go to a nail bar yourself, so we bring it to you. It helps pass those long hours, it’s a pamper and a distraction. Over the months you also tend to meet the same people and feel a connexion with them,” she said.
“I love to use my skills to do something special for people that they appreciate and enjoy. It’s lovely to be able to put a smile on faces and see them leave feeling chirpy. It gives me a warm feeling inside and a huge sense of satisfaction.”
If you would like to volunteer with Cancer Focus NI, visit https://cancerfocusni.org/about-us/volunteer/