Hundreds of people all over the world have begun sharing “lipstick selfies” to raise money for the fight against lung cancer all thanks to a campaign launched by a bereaved daughter.
Victoria Herd, 29, was devastated when her mother Janice Leverett, 59, who was known for her bright red lipstick, was diagnosed with terminal cancer and given just two years to live.
Mrs Herd’s brave mother faced the fight with her trademark lipstick smile, but she died just four weeks after the devastating diagnosis.
Distraught, Mrs Herd pledged to raise awareness of the importance of early cancer detection by launching the #redlipstickselfie social media campaign in honour of her mum.
Hundreds of people, including men, have since posted pictures of themselves sporting the bright red lipstick for which Janice was known.
To date the campaign has helped to raise more than £7,000 for the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation.
Mrs Herd, of Potters Bar in Hertfordshire, said: “Bright pillarbox-red lipstick was my mother’s trademark. She wore it from when she was a teenager until the day she died.
“She wore it every day while she was in hospital, even during MRI scans. It made her feel more like herself while she was undergoing harsh treatment.
“When I was looking for ways to raise money I knew that there was no better way of honouring her memory.”
Since launching the campaign more than 300 people from as far away as Italy, Indonesia and South Africa have posted pictures online wearing bright red lipstick. Celebrity supporters who have sent their own lipstick selfies include Birds of a Feather star Linda Robson.
Mrs Herd said: “I’m really pleased people have got behind it. It has been a great way to raise awareness as well as money.
“I miss my mum terribly but if we can stop one person going through what we have then we’ll have made a difference.
“Losing someone tears your life apart. I would not want my worst enemy to go through what my family and I have been through.”
Mrs Herd’s mother was diagnosed with cancer in February 2014. By the time she was diagnosed, the lung cancer has spread to her brain and her bones.
Since losing her mother Mrs Herd has raised £7,400 for the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation.
Next year Mrs Herd and her aunt Jill Hustwitt plan to take a red lipstick selfie at every London underground tube station sign.
Mrs Herd has now launched a petition calling for people at a high risk of lung cancer to be offered regular CT scans.
She said: “My mother had three chest x-rays over three months but as lung cancer closely resembles a chest infection with this method, medics missed the vital signs.
“It had been two whole months before she finally had a CT scan. Could earlier treatment have given me more time with my mum?
“I believe that high risk patients should be pushed to the front of the waiting list – it could be the difference between life and death.”
To view the details of Mrs Herd’s petition visit: epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/72134.
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