an Oh Myyy Property
@daisy_wakefield/Instagram, @thelonewolfcloset/Instagram

A woman has spent a portion of her university loan to pay for free sanitary products for students who cannot afford them.

Daisy Wakefield, a drawing and print student at the University of the West of England (UWE) Bristol, spent £100 on 40 hand-decorated boxes of tampons, which she is distributing on campus.

The 22-year-old said she took action after her university failed to cover the cost itself.

Announcing the project on Instagram, she wrote:

“After many emails saying 'I'll get back to you' or 'I'm not sure', I'm tired of UWE Bristol not addressing the crisis that is period poverty in the UK.

I, Daisy Wakefield, have been forced to take matters into my own hands by supplying free sanitary products on all UWE Bristol campuses."

Daisy Wakefield on Instagram: “FREE SANITARY PRODUCTS FOR ALL!!! After many emails saying “I’ll get back to you” or “I’m not sure” I’m tired of @uwebristol not…”

Ms Wakefield also posted a time-lapse video of six hours she spent packaging the boxes to put in the university bathrooms.

She told Press Association:

“My message is ultimately to de-stigmatise period poverty and menstruation as a whole. As a society we have been told to be quiet about our periods.

It's no wonder people feel they can't speak up about suffering with period poverty when so many can't even talk about their period."

In a statement, UWE Bristol said:

“Period poverty is a global issue and we're pleased UWE Bristol students are passionately advocating for change.

The university does not currently supply free sanitary products on campus, though we would be pleased to meet with students to understand if there is an emerging need for this."

Chancellor Philip Hammond announced during March's Spring Statement that the Government will fund a plan to provide free sanitary products in secondary schools from September this year.

This follows the NHS pledge to make tampons and sanitary towels available to patients on request from “summer" this year.

Commenting on the Government's promise, Labour MP Dawn Butler said:

“This is a victory for all those who have campaigned for an end to period poverty.

It's a disgrace that period poverty exists in the sixth richest country in the world."

Ms Wakefield's project comes after years of campaigning for an end to period poverty from charities including Bloody Good Period, which supplies sanitary products for refugees and asylum seekers in London and Leeds.

Liberal Democrat spokeswoman Layla Moran said:

“It is appalling that students and campaigners such as Daisy Wakefield are having to take matters into their own hands to ensure that no woman misses out on education because of period poverty."

Research from children's charity Plan International UK found that one in 10 girls cannot afford to buy menstrual products.

A separate survey found that more than 137,700 children in the UK have missed school because of period poverty.

Ms Wakefield said:

“We need to look at the success of universities such as; Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Exeter, who provide free sanitary products and look at how it's supported their students."

There a lot of things in life that makes us feel awkward and uncomfortable. One of those things is being watched while we eat, or watching someone else as they eat.

Why would we want to inspect someone spooning eggs into their mouth? Is it really necessary to see someone trying to eat a sandwich at is falls apart?

The simple answer is no.

The more complicated answer is, yes, when it's a viral trend that ends up being quite lucrative.

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PA Real Life

Horrified by the “bolster holders and granny pants" she found when shopping post-mastectomy for a bikini, a former lawyer has launched a website selling sexy swimwear and lingerie for breast cancer survivors.

Mom-of-three Lisa Andrews, 52, launched the website after booking a once-in-a-lifetime holiday to the Maldives to celebrate getting the all-clear – but found the only beachwear suitable for post-mastectomy women was not right for her.

Booking the dream trip after being given the all-clear in 2015, Lisa said:

“I've always liked nice underwear and a nice bikini so I started looking online for new swimwear."

PA Real Life-Lisa Andrews-Mastectomy (PA Real Life/Mollie Manning)

She continued:

“But all I could find, for anyone who has had a mastectomy was bolster holders and granny pants.

“I went into normal shops with my fake boob in my bag to see if I could find anything nice to wear on the beach, but there was nothing out there to suit my style and mimic what I'd have worn before.

“I thought, 'I've got to do something about this,' which eventually led me to launch my website, About The Girl."

Lisa said her breast cancer diagnosis in 2015 left her “reeling," coming out of the blue, as she has no family history of the disease.

She explained:

“I had noticed an odd-looking indent on my left boob which looked a bit squashed, so when I took my son to the doctor for an appointment, I lifted my top and just said to the doctor, ''What's this?'"

Lisa's doctor sent her for a mammogram and, a week later, she found herself being taken into a side room with three nurses and a doctor, who told her she had cancer in her left breast.

PA Real Life-Lisa Andrews-Mastectomy (PA Real Life/Collect)

“I freaked out," she recalled.

“They are the most horrendous words to hear and I kept thinking, 'Am I going to die? Am I going to be the one that lights up like a Christmas tree under the MRI scan?'
“I was also really upset that my diagnosis would now make life for my daughters more complicated. I have no history of breast cancer in my family, but now they will have to live with knowing that they do."

The following weeks of tests and scans were a whirlwind for Lisa and her family, and on April 8, 2014, she was taken into Spire Tunbridge Wells Hospital for a mastectomy and reconstruction surgery.

“Throughout that time, I was a mess," she admitted. “I didn't know if I was going to die and I couldn't stop crying. Ed was strong, he cried but said, 'We'll get through this together.'

“We told the kids as soon as I was diagnosed. I wear my heart on my sleeve and they would have known there was something wrong.

“We said the doctors had caught it early and they knew kids at school whose moms had survived breast cancer, so they were brilliant and sort of took it in their stride."

Lisa's surgery was a success, but a post-surgical infection meant the silicone breast implant had to be removed. She then faced a whole summer of chemotherapy, during which she lost her hair and her self-esteem plummeted.

She said:

“It was shocking to go through. Cancer changes you physically and emotionally. You are physically scarred, and it was a shock seeing myself flat as a pancake on one side, but I also learned I was a lot stronger than I thought.

“I was surrounded by love, my family and friends were fantastic and, actually, I had never felt more loved than when I went through that first year following the diagnosis."

Her treatment was successful, but after it stopped, having climbed such a massive mountain, Lisa said she fell apart.

She continued:

“I was crying all the time. It was the shock of thinking, 'Holy hell, I've just had breast cancer. I've lost my hair, I've lost my boob.' Of course, I was also petrified that the cancer would come back. So, I went for counseling, which really helped."

Later in 2015, Lisa was given the all-clear following an MRI scan and the family decided to book a once-in-a-lifetime celebratory holiday in the Maldives that Christmas.

PA Real Life-Lisa Andrews-Mastectomy (PA Real Life/Collect)

But that was when Lisa discovered how little sexy beachwear and lingerie was available for women who had been through a mastectomy.

She said:

“I eventually found some bikinis by the Australian brand Seafolly that worked. After I got back from the Maldives, having thought about it a lot while I was away, I found their agent in the UK and pitched my business idea to them. Serendipity then stepped and put me and a lady in touch who'd previously had a shop called About The Girl and had begun to set up a website but was looking to sell it."

Surviving cancer had made Lisa determined to do something meaningful with her life and she now saw a perfect opportunity.

“I wanted to do something I felt passionately about and stumbling upon About The Girl, I knew I'd found my mission," she added.

So, last Autumn, Lisa launched the new About The Girl website, featuring the kind of glamorous lingerie and swimwear she would have worn before her mastectomy.

Thanks to the clever idea of sewing pockets into the bra tops for a prosthetic boob to slot into, she and other cancer survivors can still wear it.

A lso striking up an exclusive UK deal with her favorite swimwear brand Seafolly meant she could adapt any of the swimwear to accommodate a prosthetic.

PA Real Life-Lisa Andrews-Mastectomy (PA Real Life/Collect)

Now Lisa uses a team of local ladies, who sew the pockets into the bra tops and customers can also order 'beanies,' which are lightweight inserts that can be worn in place of the heavier silicone prosthetics and which, unlike the latter, can also be worn in the water for swimming.

The businesswoman also regularly attends gatherings of cancer survivors, where she talks about how swimwear and lingerie can both be adapted to fit post-mastectomy and how being a breast cancer survivor does not have to mean hiding your body away for the rest of your life.

“A woman wants to feel empowered when she takes her clothes off for the beach or at home and the lingerie and swimwear we are selling really can make her feel that."

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