Red Lippy Day will raise awareness of dementia

Jules Osmany, who was born and raised in Hartlepool.
Jules Osmany, who was born and raised in Hartlepool.

People in Hartlepool are being urged to put their red lippy on to raise awareness of dementia.

Former Hartlepool woman, Jules Osmany, is again organising Red Lippy Day next month in honour of her mum, Gloria Mercer, who is dying of dementia.

Jules Osmany with her mum Gloria Stevenson.

Jules Osmany with her mum Gloria Stevenson.

Jules, 52, decided to hold the event last year and through social media it took off and she raised more than £13,000 from donations.

Born and raised in Hartlepool, Jules left the town when she was 18 to pursue a career as a make-up artist.

The former Manor Comprehensive pupil said Gloria, 83, started to show early signs of vascular dementia about four years ago.

Jules, who lived on the Fens estate with her family, including her brother, Michael Stevenson, 49, said she arranged for her mum to move to be near her in Northhampton, and her condition quickly declined.

Gloria is now a shadow of her former self, unable to recognise her family and has been bedridden for two years. She has lost her sight and can no longer communicate.

Jules said: “It is such a harrowing illness for families to watch, it is so devastating seeing someone you love not recognise you.”

The devoted daughter got the idea for Red Lippy Day when her mum randomly asked for a new red lipstick.

Although she never got the chance to wear it, Jules decided to prompt other people to don their red lipstick and donate money to Dementia UK.

Jules said: “My mum was always a really glamourous, vivacious woman and never went anywhere without her lipstick on. So, to see her now is heartbreaking.”

Jules wants to raise awareness of the condition and how it impacts on the lives of the sufferer and their families.

She said: “It is a terrible illness.

“It is so hard to see what she has become now. She has lost all her dignity and can’t do a thing for herself. I go in to see her and all I want to do is be able to chat like we used to, but it’s like she’s not there.”

Jules said she was amazed at the scale Red Lippy Day reached last year.

She said: “Hundreds of people did it, it was fantastic.

“Despite the sad nature of the topic, people were really able to have fun with it. it was a real feel-good day.”

For details of the event on Friday, May 6, visit www.facebook.com/redlippyday or www.justgiving.com/redlippydayfordementiauk.