931. Claire Louise Willis
Claire Louise Willis, from Weymouth, is a permanent makeup artist who holds a monthly clinic to provide free areola reconstruction to women who have had their breasts removed following cancer.
Claire’s skill and specialist tattooing equipment allows her to create very detailed and realistic images. The process is usually the final phase of breast reconstruction and women report huge psychological benefits after the treatment. As Claire’s free clinic is booked months in advance, she is now launching the ‘Permanent Cosmetic Academy’ to train more permanent makeup artists in areola reconstruction, and she encourages them to provide the service pro bono. Claire has also set up ‘Areola Artists’, a Facebook page to match women across the country with those providing free areola reconstruction.
In a personal letter to Claire, Prime Minister Theresa May said:
“The service you are providing to breast cancer survivors is truly transformative. By volunteering your skills to give free areola reconstruction you are supporting many women to rebuild their self-esteem at a very vulnerable point in their lives. Your dedication to supporting these women is evident in your new project to train other permanent makeup artists and encourage them to also provide their innovative services for free.”
Richard Drax, MP for South Dorset, said:
“My warmest congratulations to Claire Willis for this prestigious and well-deserved award. She is truly a worthy recipient, her unique talent providing support and self-esteem to women who have had their breast removed following cancer. And the fact that Claire’s clinic is now booked months in advance only reinforces my point.”
“Thank you so much for my Points of Light award. It seems quite bizarre to be given an award for something you enjoy doing so greatly, but thank you anyway. My time spent with my ladies, my breast cancer survivors, is hugely beneficial to me. They are fantastic women, and total warriors really. They have the most fantastic perspective on life; I value that time so greatly.
“People ask me why I volunteer my time: volunteering is something I think is hugely important. In years gone by, we would have lived in tribes, and we would have depended on each other and helped each other out in many ways. And in this modern world, sometimes I think I certainly do at times feel a little disconnected from all of that. Volunteering is a huge way to claw that back, and certainly gives me a greater and deeper feeling of connection with other people. So thank you very much.”
Watch Claire’s response to receiving a Points of Light award: