Marie Curie Stories: Giving Cancer a Makeover in Hampstead

In 1948 the National Health Service was launched. The very same year, a comittee from the original Marie Curie Hospital in Hampstead decided to preserve the name of Marie Curie by launching a charity in her name; following the donation of an engagement ring to help raise funds, the very first appeal was launched... And the rest is history. Marie Cure Cancer Care now has nine hospices across the UK that are dedicated to delivering the best care to their patients, support to their families and vital services that make lives a little bit better. It costs over £40,000 a day to keep these nine hospices running, a financial figure that relies heavily upon donations and support from the public. I was lucky enough to be invited along to the Hampstead hospice to find out what Marie Curie really gets up to and how they help make patients' lives more enriched and positive, no matter what situation or future they may be facing. 'Hospice' is a pretty scary word for most, so it was amazing to be able to go behind the scenes and find out that a hospice is not a scary place in reality. The Marie Curie Hospice, Hampstead, is a bright and relatively cheery place that's located in the corner of a leafy and peaceful London suburb. Every person I met during my morning there was smiling, welcoming and passionate about the work that the hospice does - and it does a lot of incredible work. I'm pleased to be part of a campaign launching today called 'Marie Curie Stories,' which is bringing to life the different things that Marie Curie's hospices do on a daily basis that help improve the quality of their patients' lives. In the Hampstead hospice there's something a bit special that goes on every fortnight in a little room on the 3rd floor; something that to you and me may sound minor, but something that to the terminally ill patients makes a world of difference: a makeover. Makeup artist Carolyn K rocks up every other Friday armed with brushes, powders, creams and potions, ready to help some very special ladies look as amazing on the outside as they are on the inside. When your skin is dry, blotchy or looking like it's seen better days, a little bit of makeup and good advice can mean the world. The makeovers help make patients feel great about themselves and take a little time out, with the makeup encouraging them to make plans with friends or family after thanks to their new-found confidence. After a gym session they can pop in and have a chat with Carolyn, get their smokey-eye applied, put on a bit of lippie and for a small moment in time forget their troubles when they look in the mirror. It's such a simple, yet great idea. Considering some of these people may be very well near the end of their lives, they look so well and happy; Marie Curie focuses on getting their mind, body and spirit healthy and positive so they can make the most of whatever time they have left. It was incredibly humbling to be with terminally ill patients that are so unbelievably positive, to and find out what a huge difference Marie Curie really makes. The patients really look forward to the sessions every fortnight, giving them an opportunity to get together with people in a similar situation; it really is an invaluable service and just a small element of all the great work the charity does.

You can find out more about Marie Curie in the London area by liking their Facebook page, as well as checking out the other bloggers experiences.

Marie Curie has teamed up with six bloggers who have visited Marie Curie hospices across the UK. Follow #MarieCurieStories on Twitter and Facebook and at www.mariecurie.org.uk/mariecuriestories



  1. Thank you from everybody at Marie Curie Cancer Care for taking the time to come and visit the Hampstead Hospice.

    The patients really look forward to the visits from make up artist Carolyn K and looking good really helps them to feel good.

    Best wishes, Marie Curie Cancer Care

  2. This is amazing, thank you for sharing!



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