Community Champions

Beauty therapy company gives free manicures to encourage smear tests

Written by Peter Davison.

Jessica WallbridgeBeauty therapy company Honestly Ombré is promoting a campaign encouraging women to have smear tests by offering free manicures to those going for check-ups.

Smear test screening has fallen to an all time low with only 62 percent of women attending a screening in 2017, yet in the UK, cervical cancer affects 3,000 women every year and is the biggest killer of women under the age of 35.

Jessica Wallbridge, founder of the Swindon Old Town-based business, had precancerous cells removed that were identified during a smear test.

“I’ve had personal experience of precancerous cells being identified and removed at a young age that were picked up during a routine test, if I had waited much longer to get a test it isn’t worth thinking about what could have happened,” said Jessica.

“By offering a simple incentive such as free manicures, I want to encourage others to get checked. There is no limit to the campaign, and if I end up doing 100 free manicures, then it would be worth every single hour for me, knowing that I could have potentially saved somebody’s life.

“Almost 1,000 women in the UK die from cervical cancer every year. This is tragic given that the disease is treatable and the prospect of a complete cure is good when cervical cancer is diagnosed at an early stage. If I can contribute in some way to making the smear test experience a positive one, I’ll count the campaign a success.”

Honestly Ombré is encouraging other businesses to become involved in the campaign by using the #NailYourSmear hashtag to raise awareness and by creating their own campaigns to help increase smear test screening attendance.

The campaign runs until March 31.

“The feedback on social media so far has been amazing, and I’ve had lots of women contact me, sharing their experiences," said Jessica.

“I want to break down the perceived social stigma regarding smear tests that can often make women feel embarrassed or avoid going for these critical check ups. 

“We need it to be normal for women to talk about their smear tests, and if I can encourage just a handful of women get past the hurdle of booking or going for their test, then it will be a success.”